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#2015524 - 01/16/13 02:39 PM What's the biggest reason people stop playing?
D7K Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/12
Posts: 100
Ok, I've just started and feel like I have a long journy ahead of me, but with no pressure to reach any particular level. I'm retired and have lots of time and part of it is learning about music and piano in specific. I've had two hobbies for a very long time -Astronomy and photography- and while my interest has had its peeks and valleys, I still love them. So far intellectually and artisitcally I'm finding it feels very much like when I started my other hobbies. This is just asking your opinion not "statistical data on the reasons why".

Why do you think that people stop?
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#2015536 - 01/16/13 03:01 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
Wuffski Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 550
Loc: Europe (Northern Spain)
You stop if you don´t see anymore why you started out with something, because you lost the idea what to watch out for: your everyday practicing with focus on finger technic, expression, posture, with focus on doing everything right let you forget that the real thing you wanted was joy by the beatiful sound available to you everytime you want to hear it because you would produce it yourself. Don´t forget to relax from practicing and see the joy you are producing yourself, even if your playing still doesn´t sound as well as you would like it to sound. Enjoy again the joy, which you receive from what you already play. If you find this difficult, play again a piece with which you for sure happily started out with, play the Ode to Joy!

#2015539 - 01/16/13 03:03 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
HwyStar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/17/11
Posts: 377
Loc: Reno Nevada
IMHO: They get overwhelmed with how much they do know, and then they realize how much they still don't know...

After two years I wonder if I will ever "get it". To be able to sit down and play a song and still remember it two months later and perform it the same way is daunting and unattainable by me yet.

Keep on, Keeping On.
Kawai MP11, iMac 2015, Yamaha HS8's, Sennheiser 650, Focusrite 2i4, Pianoteq 5, Steinway Model A, Mason and Hamlin Model AA
The Kawai Digital Piano Users Forum

#2015552 - 01/16/13 03:18 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1354
Loc: Southern California
For adults, expectations and disappointments is probably #1. Most expect to learn and progress and at some point that slows considerably, and/or requires that much more effort to continue to improve. Injury is another big reason. For those taking lessons, finances are another reason, because piano lessons can be a big budget item for an average person. Time is a fourth factor. Real life often gets in the way of a time intensive activity such as piano.

For #1, comparisons to others can be daunting. For example, if a person compares themselves to those posting to the quarterly recital, that can be discouraging. Most posting their recordings would not be called beginners by an outsider. Many have years of prior training or experience in music as a base (that would include me with experience on whistle and flute). Those that are true adult beginners will tend to be in the top 10% of their peer group, in terms of practice time and aptitude. The average person may get discouraged by those kinds of comparisons, and some will give up.
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#2015587 - 01/16/13 03:59 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
Michael Taylor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/11
Posts: 381
Loc: Discovery Bay, California
Good question. I don't think you will find many quitters on this message board. My guess is probably unrealistic expectations. I've been playing for two years. It can be pretty intimidating to see someone "who really knows how to play." My wife thought this would be a passing fad, until I told her that I want to buy my 3rd piano! The first was digital...which I kept for 4 months or so. I now have an upright....but want a grand.

I intend to continue playing until I run out of challenging pieces to learn!
Piano obsession started November 2010.
Ragtime Butcher
Kayserburg U123

#2015592 - 01/16/13 04:07 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
Jaak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 240
Loc: Tallinn, Estonia

I think often people expect a higher result than they actually get and want to "grab" piano playing quickly. That can lead into using force and building a system of wrong habits.

This way is a way to failure and drains soon the inspiration and joy.

Playing piano needs time, patience, care and personal love for music.

Always be gentle and respective to your instrument I think. Even if you play in fff.

Just some quick ideas smile

Best wishes to you!
Classical Piano Course for Beginners by Jaak Sikk
Piano Blog by Jaak Sikk
MA, teacher and doctoral student of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre

#2015595 - 01/16/13 04:10 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
I think it's because they want fast results and if they can't get it with the piano then they might go to something else....personally I believe it is the persistence that pays off. I always tell my student it's not as if someone sprayed magical dust on you and said you were going to be good at the piano. It's all about the effort.


#2015605 - 01/16/13 04:20 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
Scout Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/20/12
Posts: 98
Loc: USA
What an interesting question! I stopped because I was an idiot and sold my piano. I had bought it (Kawai grand) after college when everyone else was buying a car, and studied, played, and loved it for 15 years. But other life finally got in the way. This was 24 years ago, and I never stopped missing it.

Tomorrow my "new" piano, a used + excellent 1989 Baldwin L grand, will be delivered, and the anticipation is beautiful!!!

Pressure--especially the fear that I'd never be great enough to satisfy the music gods in my head--used to detract some from the joy (ok, a lot), and Marco's advice is so important. I'm newly retired and thank you for that reminder. The purpose not only is to study and practice again but to FEEL the music I love while playing it and also give joy to others who love it, like my husband. There is no goal line for me now when it comes to progress. Just to love it and enjoy what happens.
1989 Baldwin L

#2015641 - 01/16/13 05:14 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4462
Loc: Jersey Shore
It's hard to be good...If I took my piano studies and converted it to college time, I would be a brain surgeon. But alas, I am just a hack...

#2015678 - 01/16/13 05:58 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
Stubbie Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 1402
Loc: Midwest USA
Two reasons, different for two different types.

1. Someone who is serious about learning, maybe has an idea it's a long term endeavor. Stops playing because life gets in the way (not enough time to practice). Probably takes it up again at a later date.

2. Someone who starts on more or less a whim (gee, piano sounds like fun!). Quits when it becomes obvious it's harder than it looks. Probably doesn't return.

My two cents. smile

#2015688 - 01/16/13 06:11 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
Nobody seems to have mentioned costs.

I know a number of people who were really into it, took lessons, then couldn't afford lessons and had a go themselves but ended up hitting walls and losing motivation.

Cost isn't that big however compared to air sports. Skydiving you would go through £200 in a day quite easily.

#2015701 - 01/16/13 06:35 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Ive given it up a number of times.... partying too hard, moving to places with no room for practice.... i never stopped missing it though..... never had a passion like it.... touches something inside....

#2015728 - 01/16/13 07:20 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
mr_super-hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4289
There are obviously lots of valid reasons why people stop playing but that doesn't mean the fire is out. Lots of people keep the pilot light lit for a long long time but if the passion is real they will find a way to fire things up again at some point.

That point by the way is probably right now for a lot of us.

Personally, as UK Paul stated, I would quit something if I no longer had a passion inside for it. To continue doesn't make you a quitter, it would just make you someone who pursues something that they don't even like. That makes no sense to me.

That said, you get out of something what you put into it. If you want 'instant' gratification or are the type that wants a trophy just for being on the team without ever playing then piano is not for you.

It truly is all about the passion (or lack thereof).

#2015808 - 01/16/13 09:52 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
SoundThumb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/10
Posts: 447
Loc: San Diego, CA
A person I know quit playing after many years of lessons when her teacher moved away. It would seem that a good teacher can be the spark that keeps one hooked on playing.

#2015830 - 01/16/13 10:52 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
fizikisto Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 1532
Loc: Hernando, MS
I agree with what's been mentioned in this thread before. I also think a lot of people take piano lessons when they are young because their parents make them take piano. Once they get away to college, or a job, and get out of the house, they give it up. Perhaps in part because they no longer have easy access to the piano, but perhaps also because it was never something they were really passionate and motivated about.

But the main reason is very simple, learning to play the piano well is really hard. It's huge work, and for most people it requires thousands of hours of practice and years of consistent training. People give up on all kinds of things that are hard. Studying a foreign language is a a good example. A lot of people get the bug to learn spanish or whatever, buy a course or two, and they don't even make it through to the end of the course. As a teacher I can tell you that I get very frustrated when my students tell me "I'm just not good at math." While some people have legitimate learning disabilities, most of the time that's code for "Math is hard and I'm lazy so I gave up trying to learn." And this applies to more than just learning new skills. It's new years. If you go to a gym regularly, you probably have noticed a lot of new people have joined your gym (new years resolutions and all). By mid february most of those new clients will stop coming. Working out is hard. People give it up, even though it can literally save their life.

So the question then becomes, how do we as adults, with grown up responsibilities (family, job, social life, etc...) maintain our motivation and keep plodding forward to progress? How do we keep from giving up? We each have to find our own answers to those questions (because what works for me might not work for you). But I do think they are questions worth thinking about from time to time.

Sometimes, it can be hard just to get started. For me, I always love practicing piano (even when it's frustrating the heck out of me I still love it smile. I even enjoy playing scales (it relaxes me, almost like a zen meditation exercise). But even though I love it, sometimes I feel my motivation lagging. So for me, it's just a matter of making sure that every single day I get my butt on the piano bench. Once I'm there, I'm having fun. And that's really an important part. Anything you do is going to have things about it you don't like. Always ask yourself, "How can I make this fun?" Maybe not everything has a good answer to that, but a surprising number of things do if you just remember to ask the question and think about it. smile
Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800

#2015875 - 01/17/13 01:20 AM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
hamlet cat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 103
Loc: Mojave Desert
People quit? I thought they just got lost in Alfred's h*ll, never to be seen again.

Edited by ron88 (01/17/13 01:21 AM)

#2015927 - 01/17/13 04:43 AM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
I inadvertently quit, 40 years ago or so, when I went off to college and then out into the wide world and lost any regular access to a piano. As a teen I'd lived at the piano. (This was in the days before cheap moveable electric keyboards or it might've been a different story.) Twenty years later my mother finally let me have my childhood piano (she'd held onto it all these years because she hadn't wanted to rearrange her living room! and I'd given up asking)- so my then eight year old daughter could take lessons. The kid never got into the piano but I returned to it with a vengence.
Slow down and do it right.

#2015934 - 01/17/13 05:13 AM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: -Frycek]
SwissMS Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 1896
Loc: Costa del Sol
Well, this may be the silliest reason for stopping playing. I took lessons as a child and then my family moved to a small town where there was no piano teacher when I was 14. I continued to play, though, right up through college. I would go down to the common room at the dorm and play for an hour every evening. Then one day my girlfriends an I were at the piano, and a guy came in and sat on the bench with me and started "accompanying" me. He embellished my simple arrangements with arpeggios and added chords, and finally just took over the piano. He was obviously trying to impress all us girls. I was so intimidated, I never played again. Talk about shy!

My husband bought a cheap keyboard about 10 years ago, because he thought he might play. I started fiddling with it and got hooked. I didn't get serious until several years later when I had more time. Now I will never stop!

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#2015960 - 01/17/13 06:59 AM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
backto_study_piano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 865
Loc: Queensland, Australia
I originally quit when aged about 10 - because my teacher passed away. I'm not sure why my parents didn't find me another.

I quit when I was 28 - at least serious study - because the family demands were ... demanding. I still played for pleasure and in Church, but no study. I had just achieved a diploma on piano (Australian Music Examinations Board). In retirement, I'm gradually getting my standard up from what it had dropped to.
Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-15)).

#2015962 - 01/17/13 07:06 AM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: hamlet cat]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014

Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 1511
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: ron88
People quit? I thought they just got lost in Alfred's h*ll, never to be seen again.

LOL laugh

Anyway, like fizikisto said, I think the biggest reason is that most people are not ready to work hard for things. Nowadays everything is "easy", "instant", "no-effort" etc., I think our brains and bodies are atrophying. Personally I don't find it hard at all to sit at the piano everyday, but it's easy to get discouraged when you see how long it takes to become a decent player.
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

#2015975 - 01/17/13 07:38 AM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
Clayman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/13
Posts: 300
Loc: Prague, Czech Rep.
An interesting question and one that I'm unable to answer as I haven't even started yet laugh (but planning to, hopefully in a few months). So I might as well at least try to categorize myself as a member of one of the groups Stubbie mentioned above. But first a little intro on me...

As a teenager, I never felt like taking up lessons on any musical instrument. My dad once brought a nice acoustic guitar he got somewhere and hung it in our (me and my brother's) room so we could at least toy with it a bit and maybe start from there. But I never really wanted to play it. (In fact, I'm not actually sure I'd ever taken it off that wall and tried at least a few notes. In retrospect, I regret that a little now.) I just didn't really know what I'd play on it as none of the music genres that usually involve playing an acoustic guitar appealed to me back then. However, when I was about 20 (I'm 32 right now btw), I mentioned to my parents that I'd like to learn to play on a keyboard. Of course, they didn't really believe me after that "guitar fiasco", even though I'd bought a few short intro books on keyboard playing. So I sort of gave up on that idea back then and just concentrated on my university studies.

But now, 12 years later, the desire has returned. smile Since I'm still single after an end of a 5-year relationship and with lots of time to spare, I basically thought I could use a hobby laugh and realized I had wanted to learn to play a keyboard and never got around to it. But this time I didn't have to ask anyone and I didn't want to settle for a simple keyboard -- and decided to save up for a real piano (albeit a digital one).

Quite the candidate for the second group, right? smile Well, I have found just the kind of music that appeals to me the most and that I really really want to learn to play on a piano. That's my motivation. And being a computer programmer by profession, I fully realize that it's going to be a huge endeavor and will take a whole lot of practice and patience.

So, to sum it all up... I'm quite curious about how fast (or rather slow smile ) my progress is going to be but I can't wait to start. I understand that the motivation will likely be hard to keep at times but I'll endure.

Zbynek a.k.a. Clayman

P.S. Sorry for this little thread hijack, I just wanted to add my 2 cents and maybe introduce myself a bit as I'm still new here. smile

Edited by Clayman (01/17/13 07:43 AM)
-- Zbynek N.

Learning to play the piano since 06/2013 on a Kawai CA-95.

Music is what feelings sound like. ~ Author Unknown

#2015991 - 01/17/13 08:19 AM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
Norrec Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 33
I think the biggest reason statistically is probably kids forced to play when they're young and then quit as soon as they're able.

Besides that I think it has to do with not having realistic short term goals set. This is what caused me to stop playing for about a year. I told myself it was because I was "too busy" but as usual I could've found the time if I really wanted to. Just wake up 15 minutes early and go to sleep 15 minutes late, thats 30 minutes right there.

The real problem was I didn't have a teacher and I didn't know what to do to progress. I had long term goals - those are easy. I'm sure everyone has heard something before and wished they could play it. If you don't have short term goals to help you reach the long term ones then you'll flounder, run out of steam, and stall.

#2016041 - 01/17/13 10:24 AM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
CarlosCC Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/06/09
Posts: 2032
Loc: Lisbon, Portugal
Instead of asking the reason for quitting, I think you should ask why you started playing. If you do not remember, then you guys are in danger of... giving up.

Like Mr-SH said, It's all about passion and love. And by "love", we do anything to keep it alive.

SoundCloud | Youtube
Self-taught since Dec2009
"Don't play what's there, play what's not there."

#2016176 - 01/17/13 02:35 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
Teodor Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/16/09
Posts: 963
Loc: Bulgaria
1) They no longer enjoy it.
2) Some traumatic experience makes it difficult to want to do anything much less practice an instrument. It's when something really bad happens, you just lose the meaning in your life. Usually temporary, plus, playing is actually good for finding meaning once again
3) Lack of progress. Most beginners will practice the wrong way, this will build up over the years and you will start dragging in one place, unable to finish a piece. That's where a good teacher can help. It's important to have one from the beginning and see them at least once a month so they can see not only your progress and give directions but also see if you've developed bad habits. If you don't organize your practice and find what works for you, you will not have the progress you dream of anytime soon.

4) New hobby

5) Falling in love and becoming too obsessed. Again, temporary. You soon find the other person is just as damaged as you, so no use obsessing over them. You can now both enjoy your mediocrity and lack of purpose in life so you can go back to playing music. *

*That's meant as a joke by the way. I just felt like writing it, it's not directed at anyone. laugh

Edited by Teodor (01/17/13 02:36 PM)
Music Pedagogy Student


#2016231 - 01/17/13 04:24 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
I think I found out the reason people give up shocked


#2016243 - 01/17/13 04:40 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
Rickster Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 10906
Loc: Georgia, USA
Don't know that I'd ever give up trying to play, but I do have a fear of being injured or not being able to play whenever I take a notion.

I think the biggest reason people stop playing is that they just loose interest.

Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

#2016260 - 01/17/13 05:38 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Like anything, when you see people doing it and it looks like fun, you investigate about doing it yourself.

The reality of doing something like playing a piano is that you must sit on a piano bench indoors for 10 years. The reality of playing any instrument is that it takes 10 years to play decently to place a hat on the ground and people will give you spare change.

Motivation to learn to play an instument can be fame, famous people have said they learned an instument to impress women or attract women, become rich and famous, some are attracted to play a particular instument.

Teachers and professionals I know never talked about the music but usually talked about how much the gig was paying. Which is probably true for most of us no matter what we do, we talk about getting promotions, better pay, retiring as opposed to a new employee or a young musician, they are impressed with what others who know more than they do, and dream of the things we have lived through and experienced.

I think that most people who choose a career are shocked when they finally start doing what they have learned to do. Lost of musicians teach and teaching is usually dealing with people who know less. Daily most family doctors listen to people complain and hand out prescriptions. Judges deal with less bright lawyers and lots of people who lie. This not bad, but reality can be obscure sometimes. I am not suggesting anything negative, but sometimes the things we love are far different than what we thought we would like about the profession or job or hobby/interest.

#2016358 - 01/17/13 09:31 PM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
leokatero Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/17/13
Posts: 6
Loc: Banned
They get overwhelmed with how much they do know

#2016490 - 01/18/13 03:10 AM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
Nicholas Mihaila Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 161
Loc: United States
The better you become, the harder it is to continue progressing. It may be a linear curve at first, but eventually it tapers off. I bet most people stop because their progress slows too much, or maybe even stops completely (you also need more time as you improve).
Follow my mixed gaming and musical ambitions through my YouTube channel:


My cover of Inuyasha - Every Heart: https://youtu.be/-rFKbUoO7bM

Currently working on Fantasie Impromptu and Animenz's Owari no Sekai Kara.

#2016588 - 01/18/13 09:11 AM Re: What's the biggest reason people stop playing? [Re: D7K]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 15483
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I think for most adult students I've encountered that quit piano it's because they really had no idea of what studying an instrument was like. Even after I explain to them from the onset that it takes consistent practice over a long period of time to yield the results they want, it doesn't really set in their minds until it's time to work. Perhaps they didn't believe me and thought it must be easier than it is, or perhaps they were assuming that if they were talented enough they wouldn't havet o work hard, and since they have to work hard they're not talented and should quit. Or maybe, they really didn't want it badly enough to ride out the frustrating times and overcome obstacles. This last thing I think is really important - to stick with it even when you have a bad day or a bad week, and find a solution to the problem rather than dwelling on the problem.

Of course, all of these things aren't helped by the instant-gratification that sinophilia talks about.
private piano/voice teacher FT

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