Confessions of a Piano Lesson Dropout

I am a piano lesson dropout.

But long before I quit lessons, I was an I-don't-want-to-practice piano student.

Just ask my mom.  

She’d tell you that no matter how much she tried to get me to practice...  

... There were weeks when I didn’t practice - not even once - between lessons.  

.... And weeks when I’d get a little practice in here or there, dragging my feet and complaining.

But weeks where practiced 5 days and really made progress?  Well, those were few and far between.  

It was frustrating all the way around: for my parents, for my teacher, for me.  

Why didn’t I practice? 

Was practicing…    
   … too difficult?    
   … too boring?    
   … too time-consuming?  

I’m pretty sure I used all those excuses.  

But then, how was it that I managed to stick with competitive swimming for 13 years?

If you’ve swum competitively, you know swimming can be…

     ... difficult (Anyone feel like vomiting yet?)

     … boring (Going back-and-forth for hours, staring at the same line on the bottom of the pool.)

     … time-consuming (Did I mention hours and hours spent staring at that line?) 

A Thought Experiment

Let's imagine that my swim team was run the same way as my piano lessons:  

I have a weekly, 30-minute lesson with the swim coach, where he tells me all of the things to work on the following week.  

Between lessons, my parents drop me off at the pool each day and tell me to practice.  



> What are the chances I improve by the next lesson?  

> The chances I push myself past what I thought was possible?  

> The chances I uncover mistakes and make corrections?  

> The chances I stick with it and make swimming a lifelong sport?  

Slim to none.  

Flipping the Odds
Looking back, I think the biggest reason I didn’t practice piano was that it was...

  … too lonely.  

The bad news is that private music lessons typically set you up to follow in my footsteps and become a music lesson dropout.  

The good news is that all it takes is one person regularly practicing with you to flip the odds.  

And because a family member is most likely to be around to practice with you, I’ve developed a set of tools and resources to help parents come alongside their children as they learn to play and love music.    

For example, check out the "Make it a Duet" idea from the 5 Creative Piano Practice Activities blog post or the 2-player games from the Stickey Notes mobile app.

Categories: : Practicing