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#1019639 - 01/07/09 02:37 PM Loss of motivation...  
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JeanieA Offline
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Maybe it's the weather, maybe the post-holiday blahs, but I find myself lacking in enthusiasm for things piano. I have been sitting at the bench, just picking at things and unable to concentrate. Where'd the motivation and excitement go?

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get the 'groove' back?


Collector of sheet music I can't play.
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#1019640 - 01/07/09 02:42 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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Let yourself take a break. Keep the piano closed for a few days. Go out and take a long walk. Do some aerobic exercise. See someone you have been meaning to call. You'll know when you want to sit at the piano again.

#1019641 - 01/07/09 03:20 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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Try attending a recital or other concert. University of Nevada has a Reno campus with a music department, I found on a quick web search.

I love going to college student recitals. Of course, they can play way better than I can but it's good motivation. Plus it's a good way to familiarize yourself with more of the repertoire, listen to a wide variety of playing, and learn to listen for some of those things your teacher (if you have one) keeps telling you to do. wink

Last night and over the lunch hour today I watched some of the competitors in the semi-finals of the Bosendorfer International Piano competition. Its on the campus where I work.

http://herbergercollege.asu.edu/pianocompetition/

That'll make you either decide to start practicing again...or give up piano completely! eek laugh


Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.
#1019642 - 01/07/09 03:21 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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I think the after holiday blues can be very common...

This is what it say in a book I have one the section about procrastination.

"people who are succesful know that motivation doesn't come first-productive action does. You have to prime the pump by getting started whether you feel like it or not. Once you begin to accomplish something, it will often spur you to do even more."

Action=Motivation=Action

"The more you do the more you will feel like doing, but doing something comes first."

Also, put in a song you love that is upbeat and motivational. Linus and Lucy (the peanuts theme does it for me.


“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
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#1019643 - 01/07/09 04:10 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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Mark... Offline
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Go listen to some good piano u-tube videos...

#1019644 - 01/07/09 04:14 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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I'm impressed that you would post when you're feeling the blahs. I think a lot of people would just drift away, so you're definitely on the right track.

I went through this during the fall, and I think it was due to too many things to do and less-than-inspiring music choices. If there's something else you want to be doing when you're at the piano, go let yourself do it. If your music just doesn't get you excited, find something else. I agree about listening to others play music. There are YouTube videos at every level, and they do motivate me.

Good luck. I'm sure you'll recover your motivation soon.

Nancy



Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3
#1019645 - 01/07/09 04:19 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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With unlimited scores out there you lack motivation?? Sheesh, at least there's your day job!


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1019646 - 01/07/09 04:23 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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I wonder what would happen if teachers decided not to try very hard, because *they* lost motivation…


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#1019647 - 01/07/09 04:40 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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JeanieA Offline
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Well, maybe if someone were paying me (like a teacher is paid) to play I might be re-motivated! wink


Collector of sheet music I can't play.
#1019648 - 01/07/09 04:49 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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If only it was that simple!


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1019649 - 01/07/09 04:54 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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JeanieA - take a break - couple days, couple weeks - if renewed natural motivation doesn't drive you crazy and back to the piano with gusto and determination then make the break permanent, or at least indefinite until Mr. Moto shows up - and if he's a long-term no-show . . . well, there's always making quilts, etc.

Don't force yourself - wait - you'll probably be back (and soon).

Regards, JF

P.S. besides, you've got all that sheet music you can't play to play someday :p


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.
#1019650 - 01/07/09 05:55 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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Try taking a day or so off to evaluate where you are and where you want to be. Set up a practice schedule with small goals. This may help you get removitated. Maybe buy a book that also has a CD with it so you can read along and perhaps find a piece that you love and feel inspired to learn.


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#1019651 - 01/07/09 06:50 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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Something else you might try, in combination with other motivators like going to recitals or listening to music or reading books about piano and piano playing (I don't remember where I heard this one) is to pick a set # of days and tell yourself you are not *allowed* to play the piano until that day (2 days, 3 days, whatever). Do other piano related things but Don't Play. (you'll probably want to)

I think part of loss of motivation to practice is that sometimes we 'nag' ourselves...we 'should' be doing something...so the self-nagging causes us additional demotivation and avoidance.

Not allowing yourself to play for a certain period (however long that is) does the opposite. Now you are like a kid looking in the window of a candy store and can't have what you're looking at.


Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.
#1019652 - 01/07/09 06:56 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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Thanks for all the suggestions, it's appreciated. I'm not whining (I hope that's not how it's coming across) just wondering where the fun went.

It might be that I'm just back to work (as an elementary school teacher) after a two week break at home playing Christmas music that I love, and now it's back to the daily grind.

ProdigalPianist: Thanks for the suggestion regarding checking out stuff at UNR. My daughter's a student there, I'll have her check the concert schedule!

NancyM333: I will look at youTube, AND now with iTunes doing the video lessons, that may be fun, too.

Sandy: I DO think I need a practice schedule, I will do that!

And now, it's time to take the dogs for their walk. Thanks, all!


Collector of sheet music I can't play.
#1019653 - 01/07/09 07:05 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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JeanieA,

My piano teacher took a Christmas break in mid-December that coincided with my usual post-Christmas blahs. I talked with her January 5, and my lessons will resume on January 13. Our conversation was enough to re-kindle my motivation...she is my best cheerleader. Maybe if enough of us cheer you on, it'll sink in and help chase your blahs away. yippie smile

Good luck,

Lisztener



#1019654 - 01/07/09 07:38 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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saerra Offline
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Hiya JeanieA!

I go through this too sometimes, although for me, it seems to be more the case that other life stuff gets me down to the point where the piano just doesn't look like fun.

Here are some things I've noticed help:

- Do you have any music that you love listening to (but haven't tried playing yet) - no matter how goofy?

Especially if it's something that's not serious, that you normally wouldn't "waste" practice time on? (I go for TV theme songs, for example - for me these just seem to give me a lift!)

If you can find some music that energizes you, but that you wouldn't normally get to play - then give that a try. wink It's amazing the difference I can feel between an "assigned" piece that isn't terrible, but doesn't speak to me, and a fun piece that makes me giggle!

- Can you switch gears at all and do other piano-related stuff? Like try figuring out songs by ear that you like? Or dabble with some improv/composition? Sometimes this helps me get re-engaged.

I don't think a break is necessarily a bad thing either, but for me, I usually find that if I can find something engaging, even if it's not something my teacher would put a high priority on, that it boosts my piano energy and cheers me up.

Just some thoughts!

And... do you have a teacher? Did you have a long Christmas break from lessons? I found the lesson-break tough this year too... really draining in a weird way, and almost made me want to just cancel my lessons altogether. Thankfully I start back up next week as well.

#1019655 - 01/07/09 09:46 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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Watch this Victor Borge clip. It may not get your motivation back, but it will take your mind off of it for a few minutes.


Piano self teaching on and off from 2002-2008. Took piano instruction from Nov 2008- Feb 2011. Took guitar instruction Feb 2011-Jul 2013. Can't play either. Living, breathing proof some people aren't cut out to make music.
#1019656 - 01/07/09 11:20 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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Let me tell you my experience. In early July I just stopped playing - no interest at all. Then after several months I started checking in from time to time here at ABF. In December, the holiday thread got me interested and I started playing again. I'm even looking for a teacher now and had my first lesson (a trial lesson) yesterday - the first one in five decades. I'm still looking for a teacher, but at least I'm playing again and having fun. So, don't forget to check in here at ABF. The ABF members' love of the piano and music are infectious.

#1019657 - 01/08/09 04:44 AM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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Quote
Originally posted by JeanieA:
... just wondering where the fun went.
Maybe what was so fun at Christmas was having energy and playing relatively simple & playable, familiar, emotionally-rewarding repertoire in the company of friends and loved ones?

So...

1. Why not take up piano duet? You can start right away with your teacher. You could then perhaps find someone posting at your local music store bulletin board. There is an amazing amount of playable and incredibly fun music out there. Playing with someone else brings another dynamic into your piano playing. Working towards a joint practice session brings another dimension to your (self)motivation.

2. Why not go back and play music under your current level e.g. familiar tunes and just have fun enjoying what you already can do for a while instead of seeing the piano as a grind or work?

3. Why not take out a hymn book and do some sight-reading on hymns?

4. Why not get a group together of other learners that take turns playing every 3-4 months for each other in each others' homes. Sunday afternoons of music making with snacks, refreshments and relaxed conversation integrates piano into new and renewed social contacts.

5. How about the idea of playing chamber music? There is plenty of literature out there with very playable piano parts. You might get into contact with a local school or music store or adult community organisations to see how you might be able to put a group together of like-minded adults wanting to make music. Here is a good resource:

"Piano Needn't Be Lonely: A Guide to Chamber Music Repertoire for Young Pianists and Multi-Piano Repertoire" www.nadialasserson.com

#1019658 - 01/08/09 06:10 AM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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Hi JeanieA,

I, too, am an elementary school teacher. I just started playing over Christmas break and had two weeks to really get into it. I was making great progress and was really motivated, then -- wham, it was back to school and all the stress that goes with it. By the time I get home after a long day, I just feel like relaxing, not concentrating hard on learning a new piece. Plus, I was making such good progress, and going back to work has really slowed me down. Over break I was probably practicing 5-6 hours a day, and now I'm lucky to get an hour in. But, like somebody else said, I just have to make myself sit down and play.

Do you share your playing with your students? Maybe you can schedule a "performance" with your class and that will motivate you. That has worked with me in the past on guitar.

Rodger

#1019659 - 01/08/09 07:43 AM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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Hi JeanieA,

I think it's common to let your motivation go for whatever reasons.

I find that daylight savings time really bites. I hate sitting at the piano at 6pm when it's dark outside. That automatically makes me want to curl up and watch tv or read a good book.

My teacher is part of my motivation. Knowing that I need to be prepared for her keeps me from going into a complete slump during the holidays.

My teacher told me that there are times when you don't want to practice and she said when those times come take the break. Something will spark your interest to come back again and a break every now and then never hurt anybody. This is coming from a person who has been playing for 65 years. She lives and breathes music in anything she does.

It's completely normal IMO so I wouldn't fret too much.


Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster
#1019660 - 01/08/09 12:00 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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Quote
Originally posted by theJourney:
3. Why not take out a hymn book and do some sight-reading on hymns?
I think I'd rather shoot myself!


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1019661 - 01/08/09 01:10 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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actually, everyone takes breaks from piano, a few days or weeks. i remember that my teacher did that too, when he's back from a summer job and told me that he's not practicing and taking vacation from piano.

i think it's good to take a break once a while and get back refreshed and motivated for next round. sometimes, you'd get exhausted and less motivated when you keep doing the same without much change. i had been feeling pretty much rushed and tired somewhat to prepare for lessons for a while until my teacher left. and all of the sudden, i felt peace with my piano practice, and don't have to think what my teacher would say about me playing something, but really listen to myself playing, check how i play myself, and focus on taking care of my techniques now. it's actually a good thing for me, and makes me realize that i actually learned a lot already from my teacher and know what to do without a teacher. so, the point is that a break, from piano or teacher, sometimes is much needed.

#1019662 - 01/08/09 01:30 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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Quote
I think I'd rather shoot myself!
I don't think he was suggesting for you to do it but whatever floats your boat. Don't let us stop you.!!


Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster
#1019663 - 01/08/09 01:52 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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I too am a collector of sheet music, most of which I can't play, however, when I feel demotivated I find browsing through my collection and finding a piece I hadn't realised I'd got which is doable rekindles my enthusiasm.

#1019664 - 01/08/09 04:49 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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Quote
Originally posted by Oxfords Gal:
I don't think he was suggesting for you to do it but whatever floats your boat.
Or sinks it!


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1019665 - 01/08/09 05:23 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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Thanks, all, for the encouragement and suggestions. Seems like everyone gets 'de'motivated from time-to-time!

I do take lessons, and I restart on Monday after the holiday break. I've dug out a piece I've wanted to finish, a Chopin nocturne (72/1), to take with me. I'm sure my teacher will (good naturedly) cringe when she sees it again as I've worked on it in the past and, although I can nail the first and last page, it's got this pesky middle part with those 64th notes that I still can't play quickly enough. But I do love it and want it finished AND she's promised me a bottle of champagne on the day I can play it for her. THAT'S motivation! wink

I've also ordered (damn Amazon.com and that 1-click ordering ease) a book of Liszt etudes and finger excercises as one of my New Year's resolutions was to improve my playing skills and I need to get the fingers moving up to speed. Hanon hurts, but scales alone aren't doing the job.

I like the idea of playing something goofy, I've borrowed my daughter's copy of Green Day's "Good Riddance" just for fun.

It seems like you've all managed to perk me up! Thank you! 3hearts


Collector of sheet music I can't play.
#1019666 - 01/08/09 08:29 PM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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Quote
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Quote
Originally posted by theJourney:
[b] 3. Why not take out a hymn book and do some sight-reading on hymns?
I think I'd rather shoot myself! [/b]
Somewhat surprised by this seemingly negative assessment of hymns - especialy from one who otherwise appears to be experienced, knowledgable, educated, and urbane - certainly some of the most beautiful works ever composed in the Western musical literature are hymns, and one doesn't even have to be particularly religious to appreciate their gorgeous melodies or enjoy playing them - after all, they were composed usually by very talented and devoted individuals who were creating musical art that glorified the devine being they worshipped, and they almost always took extra pains to make the music as magnificent as they possibly could to please that being and inspire their fellow worshipers.

Perhaps a second consideration of their merits might be in order . . .

Regards, JF


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.
#1019667 - 01/09/09 12:23 AM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Tongue-in-cheek is a term used to refer to humor in which a statement, or an entire fictional work, is not meant to be taken seriously, but its lack of seriousness is subtle. The origin of its usage comes from when Spanish minstrels would perform for various dukes in the 18th century; these dukes would silently chastise the silliness of the minstrel's performances by placing their tongue firmly to the side of their cheek. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as "Ironic, slyly humorous; not meant to be taken seriously".
wink

#1019668 - 01/09/09 07:30 AM Re: Loss of motivation...  
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Quote
Or sinks it!
ha ha ha

Tongue in cheek is hard to discern over the Internet unless you have cute little emoticons or if you're an expert of tongue in cheek. :-J


Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster
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