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The busy adult life and piano lessons #1234830
07/21/09 12:57 PM
07/21/09 12:57 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 25
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farful Offline OP
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Hello. As adults, we all have a busy life, whether working full time, taking care of the house, children, etc. and yet we share love for the piano.

Anyone else have the dilemma of wanting to take lessons, but feel they can't devote enough practice time to make the lessons worth while? Does anyone have any experience with taking lessons once every few weeks or maybe once a month? Is this not recommended? I feel like lessons aren't worth it if you can't get at least 20 hours of practice in...

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Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: farful] #1234849
07/21/09 01:22 PM
07/21/09 01:22 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,044
not in Japan anymore
ShiroKuro Offline
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not in Japan anymore
20 hours of practice in what time span? A week? A month? Between lessons?

I think that some times being able to practice a big chunk at once (say, when just starting a new piece) can be very helpful, but if you are able to practice consistently (as in, close to most days a week) you should be able to make progress even if you aren't able to practice several hours every day. For example, you would probably benefit more from 30 minutes 6 days a week than 2 hours twice a week or something. Also, I think many people here take lessons every other week instead of every week (I may drop down to that kind of schedule in the fall, as opposed to the weekly lessons I'm doing this summer). Regardless of what your lesson and practice schedule is, you'll progress more than if you don't try it at all!

Are you a complete beginner, or a returning player? That might make a difference too. One thing you might try is see if you can devote extra time in the first month or two of lessons (say, to learn how to read music if you're a beginner, or to get back into the swing of things if you're not a true beginner). Then plan on making piano a part of your daily schedule once you have a routine in place.

In the end, I don't think there are very many adults who "have" time for piano, most of us make time for piano. Try it, you'll probably find time you didn't think you had, and you'll be glad you did!


Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

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Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: ShiroKuro] #1234865
07/21/09 01:54 PM
07/21/09 01:54 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 386
Michigan
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verania5 Offline
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Michigan
I have a full-time job and also go to school as a graduate student as well. I also do most of the housework when I get home, so by the time dinner has been served and the kitchen cleaned it is closer to 9pm most nights. I try to get in at least an hour of practice on the weekdays and 2-3 on the weekends, but I always wish I could practice more. My current schedule with my instructor is to meet once every 2-3 weeks, depending on his schedule. It works out really well for me and I can get in enough practice to make the lesson worthwhile. The downside is usually we don't have enough time to discuss each piece in the detail I want to. I think you should consider the biweekly schedule to start out with, and maybe a 45 minute lesson, to test the waters.

Good luck


Steinway M & Yamaha P120
Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: ShiroKuro] #1234868
07/21/09 01:56 PM
07/21/09 01:56 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 87
North Carolina
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Ken S. Offline
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North Carolina
I take a lesson every other week, as do most of the adults who work with my teacher. The system seems to work well. Finding practice time still takes effort. But with bi-weekly lessons (as compared to weekly), it is easier to recover from missing a couple of days of practice.

Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: Ken S.] #1234887
07/21/09 02:28 PM
07/21/09 02:28 PM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 518
Hessen, Germany
Euphonatrix Offline
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Hessen, Germany
Hi and welcome, farful,

I agree with ShiroKuro - we MAKE time for practice. A lot of people here found that the time they spent in front of TV dropped dramatically in favour of piano practice wink
Some people dote on practicing in small chunks whenever they pass by their piano - say, three or four times for ten minutes per day.

Taking a lesson every week was quite beneficial for me as I was starting piano from scratch (I could read music and knew some theory from school, though). No chance for bad habits to become ingrained. Now I sometimes think a lesson every second week would be good, as the tasks I have to accomplish become more complex. So I might have more visible (or audible) results if I had more time.
But, again, taking a lesson every week puts me under a certain pressure to practice every day. I noticed I tend to postpone things if I feel I have more time ("ah, will work on that bar tomorrow, it's not that urgent").

20 hours of practice between weekly lessons seems quite ambitious for a beginner - your body and mind have to adjust to practice routine anyway.


"The creative process is nothing but a series of crises."
(Isaac B. Singer)

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Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: Ken S.] #1234941
07/21/09 03:53 PM
07/21/09 03:53 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 89
Durham UK
Collyermum Offline
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Posts: 89
Durham UK
I agree, I take lessons every other week, with school holidays off and other odd weeks it can often be longer. But I find, too, that it takes the pressure off as practising every day can be really hard, I have 4 small children who are not all yet in nursery/school!

Collyermum


Irmler grand 5'3"
Grade 8 flute and voice, working on Grade 7 piano and beginner on the lever harp!
Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: Collyermum] #1234948
07/21/09 04:10 PM
07/21/09 04:10 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,418
Dallas, TX
packa Offline
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Dallas, TX
For several years I took lessons every other week in order to accommodate my business travel schedule. This worked pretty well for me, but as soon as my job changed and I stopped traveling regularly, I changed to taking one 45-minute lesson every week. The increased lesson time has been invaluable to me in my musical journey.

I have a job, a family, and other activities (although no kids at home anymore) and I do have to stay disciplined in making time for practice. I practice one to two hours per day (not all in one sitting, however) and find that is sufficient to make my weekly lessons productive. With that said, I still wish I could practice more and do when time permits.


Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718
Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: Collyermum] #1234958
07/21/09 04:25 PM
07/21/09 04:25 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 43
OH--IO
jagshrink Offline
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OH--IO
I work 5 days a week (nearly full time) and my 2 sons are age 10 and 12, so home duties are nowhere near what they used to be. I practice nearly every day most weeks but sometimes things interfere. I take weekly lessons, even though sometimes I haven't practiced as I wished I could have. I long since stopped trying to impress my teacher or make sure she knew how dedicated I was. She sees me for what I am--a busy adult with responsibilities who also loves piano, and meets me where I am. When I have told her "I was tempted to cancel because I didn't practice much this week" she tells me she feels strongly that a weekly lesson keeps you focused, keeps you from avoiding piano for a second week in a row and gives you a "fresh start". But I don't think I would have had time when my kids were younger, so I'm making up for lost time now! I also tend to use those driving/drop off/waiting times to study theory!

Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: jagshrink] #1234992
07/21/09 05:23 PM
07/21/09 05:23 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,049
Phoenix Metro, AZ
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ProdigalPianist Offline
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Phoenix Metro, AZ
Only a lucky few teachers will have ONLY students who are completely dedicated to piano, on a piano performance track, and practice several hours a day.

Most piano teachers have students who have limited practice time, even if they only take school-aged students. Even grade school kids today are over-committed with activities.

You should be able to find a teacher who is willing (even happy!) to work with you if you can only practice an hour or even a half hour each day.

Many teachers are just happy to have students who WANT to take piano lessons and who are excited about piano, rather than "My mom makes me do this" kids.


Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.
Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: ProdigalPianist] #1235000
07/21/09 05:39 PM
07/21/09 05:39 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,024
Canada
SAMoore Offline
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Canada
I read somewhere that we ALWAYS find time for the things we REALLY want to do. I think that's true in most cases.


It's the journey not the destination..
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Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: SAMoore] #1235084
07/21/09 08:26 PM
07/21/09 08:26 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 476
Roswell, GA, USA
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FormerFF Offline
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Roswell, GA, USA
I take weekly 30 minute lessons, and find I can only get an average of 30 minutes a day with the piano. While I'd certainly like more time to practice, I'm making progress. 30 minutes a day certainly won't get me to the advanced level, but for now, it's not bad. Now, if I could just find something I could drop from my schedule...


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.
Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: FormerFF] #1235092
07/21/09 08:38 PM
07/21/09 08:38 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 34
canada
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mozbach Offline
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canada
I started with 30 minutes practice a day 6 years ago when the kids were younger (10 and 12). Now I organize my activities to practice 60-90 minutes a day during the week and on week-ends a 90 minute practice. I am an early bird so I practice early in the morning and some times I do half an hour at night during the study time of the kids. I take weekly 45 minutes lessons . I am thinking of taking 60 minutes lessons this fall so I can be more prepared with my pieces. do you think it is worth it ??


Mozbach
Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: mozbach] #1235160
07/22/09 12:01 AM
07/22/09 12:01 AM
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 635
Manila
marimorimo Offline
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Manila
I'm lucky I'm still single and live very close to my job so I technically have lots of time, but for some reason my time in the evenings evaporate so quickly! Just preparing dinner for myself and doing some simple house chores take up time (I admit I'm not very good at either so I'm slow). Aside from that, I have other interests such as reading and doing free translation work for online friends which take up more time. Definitely the piano has cut back my time for TV dramatically. I hardly ever turn on the TV since I started lessons last May. Good thing I cancelled the cable TV subscription awhile back.

I want to make the most of advancing in the basics of piano while I still have the time and resources. And in the future when I get busier, I will try to make time for practicing.

mozbach: I started with 40-minute lessons then my teacher suggested I extend to 60 minutes and it was a good decision. My teacher and I get to cover more material. I'm still a beginner, so I imagine the results will be even better for someone at an intermediate and above level. So I say go for it if your schedule and budget allows wink

Last edited by marimorimo; 07/22/09 12:45 AM.

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Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: farful] #1235169
07/22/09 12:47 AM
07/22/09 12:47 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,607
California
4evrBeginR Offline
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California
I am totally with you on the busy life problem. It's really tough to take lessons if you aren't showing any progress, though I don't think you need to practice 20 hours a week to show progress. Probably 5 hours a week is good enough. The most important thing isn't so much how fast you learn but whether after 6 months you are making progress. If you are stuck in the same lesson book for 3 years, then that's really bad, but if you are making progress slowly, that's fine.

You should not need to practice 20 hours a week until you reach the early advance level and still want to advance more, that's when you need to practice a lot. Otherwise, from beginner to intermediate, an hour a day does it. Before you know it, in 5 years or so, you are at the intermediate level.


Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci
Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: SAMoore] #1235194
07/22/09 02:25 AM
07/22/09 02:25 AM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 472
Barcelona
Boira Offline
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Barcelona
Originally Posted by IPIBAHN - Sandy
I read somewhere that we ALWAYS find time for the things we REALLY want to do. I think that's true in most cases.


That's very true.
How many time do people spend in front of the TV every day?
I work full time 6 days a week, have a house to take care of, play a 2nd instrument and take Finnish lessons. Never go to bed before 01:30 am and wake up at 07:30.

Of course there are exceptions and every person is different, but I think it all can be described with 3 words: Priorities, discipline and sacrifice.

Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: 4evrBeginR] #1235206
07/22/09 03:59 AM
07/22/09 03:59 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 89
Durham UK
Collyermum Offline
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I've been playing on and off in between having kids for about 5 years out of the last 8, started as a beginner although I have studied two other instruments.

I rarely get to practice more than half an hour due to having had a bad back, getting up to an hour in now, and my lesson is an hour every fortnight. And I've got up to intermediate level, finished my grade 6 pieces and starting on some grade 7 repertoire now.

So you don't have to do stacks and stacks of practice to progress, but you do have to make your practice count! I rarely play "fun" pieces due to my limited time and pretty much concentrate on my set pieces for my lessons and scales/exercises on and off! But I do have the advantage of already having a grounding in music, theory etc!

Its fun being an adult learner though, I enjoy it so much more now I am self motivated instead of being nagged into practising as I was with the flute as a teenager!


Irmler grand 5'3"
Grade 8 flute and voice, working on Grade 7 piano and beginner on the lever harp!
Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: SAMoore] #1235232
07/22/09 07:01 AM
07/22/09 07:01 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,694
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Taking lesson every other week is the bare minimum. In the past, I thought that I could just take lesson once a month. But now with my new teacher, I learn so much things from each lesson. The only problem is that it is not inexpensive to take lesson from my current teacher, therefore, I cannot take too many lessons in a month from him. I limit 2 lessons per month, because I cannot afford paying $320 (4 x $80/hour) a month.

I think everybody should be able to make time if he or she really wants, for example, wake up early and practice early in the morning, and practice again after dinner. For an adult, if we can practice about 1 hour to 1.5 a day is more than enough. Of course, we cannot expect fast progress, but it will be adequate if we know how to practice efficiently.

So far I have had taken lesson from him for 2 years. I am very happy with the progress and improvement.

Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: RonaldSteinway] #1235242
07/22/09 07:22 AM
07/22/09 07:22 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 298
New Hampshire
foxyw Offline
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New Hampshire
I take weekly hour long lessons and most often practice about one hour per day. With summer here I'm finding I can't spend quite as much time practicing but my teacher understands that. I've been taking lessons for just over one year now and am finding that there's a seasonal cycle to how much I can practice. I don't watch television so even with a long commute to work, I am still able to find time each evening to play piano. I don't spend quite as much time on theory as I'd like to but I do take my theory workbook with me to doctor appointments and the like since there's almost always time to work on a couple of pages while I wait.

I think the one hour lessons are excellent because there is time to review theory, technical exercises, and time to cover anywhere from two to four of the pieces I'm working on.


"Ah, music. A magic beyond all we do here!" J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, 1997.

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Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: foxyw] #1235352
07/22/09 10:50 AM
07/22/09 10:50 AM
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 192
Central California
Susan K. Offline
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Central California
Weekly lessons are really worthwhile for me simply because it's something that reminds me to make time for ME. To do this without the "stress" of not practicing as much as I would like, I have become very realistic about what I can do in a week. During the summer, I can work on more because I have the time to practice, but once school starts, my teacher and I drop down to just parts of two pieces. Once you start taking lessons, you'll find that your pieces will become staggered, working on polishing a piece, learning a brand new one, in the middle of another. So if you limit what you need to learn each week, you won't feel overwhelmed by the responsibility to practice and practice will be fun.

Re: The busy adult life and piano lessons [Re: Susan K.] #1235367
07/22/09 11:17 AM
07/22/09 11:17 AM
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 2
Tucson, AZ
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mellindac1973 Offline
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Tucson, AZ
I'am new to playing the piano and began lessons in May 09. My lessons are once a week for 30 minutes and I study at home probably about 20 to 30 min every other day. However grasping this instrument not to mention reading the sheet music is more difficult than I thought. I used to play the violin as a little girl, and that was mostly by sound and I put my fingers where the teacher told me but now I am on my own with the piano. Will it get easier?

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