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How to motivate yourself
#2962100 03/31/20 02:44 AM
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Hi guys, first post so please be gentle!

Obviously now I can't have piano lessons I'm struggling to sit on that stool. I've left it a week and just fear that I'll mess up completely. How do you guys overcome this?

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Re: How to motivate yourself
Balcon #2962102 03/31/20 03:42 AM
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Hi there,

I saturated myself with news about the virus spread a couple of weeks ago and found myself wasting so much time. I just stopped watching and decided to concentrate on my piano, about the only thing I have control off.


Following Trying to follow the Ling Ling 40 hour method

Kawai K8 & Kawai Novus NV10


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Re: How to motivate yourself
Balcon #2962105 03/31/20 04:19 AM
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Hi if you are using a method book you can work through it step by step and suppliment your learning with you tube videos if you get stuck or could email your piano teacher and ask for guidance on self learning during this time or particular points you have concern over .

Also there are a number of online courses you could try some are free and some not. Others on this forum have used them and there is lots of discussion in other posts about them.

If it is difficult to motivate yourself the key is to have a plan of what to learn and practice and then set a regular time every day to sit down at the piano. Even if only for a short while it will get you into the discipline of practicing . if you set small goals each practice session then this will help keep the motivation up once you see yourself improving by small steps .

Dont worry about messing up we all do it Thats why we need to practice . Each time you mess up try and work out what you messed up and then aim to correct it . Dont go at a fast pace practice slowly and in small steps. small achievements build to create bigger achievements in the long run .

Good luck


Using Faber Adult Piano Adventures AIO Book 1
Currently working on Unit 14
Also working with Faber Technique and Artistry book 2
Playing on a Rolands HP 505 Digital Piano
Re: How to motivate yourself
Balcon #2962110 03/31/20 04:46 AM
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Maybe you can backtrack a bit and work on easier stuff that you can do without having to try too hard.

You could also divide up your workload, and do a quarter each week.

If your biggest issue is motivation, you want to do something where you're not likely to get discouraged. Once you see progress of any sort, you'll probably feel like doing more.

The worst thing for motivation is the feeling that you have to climb Everest every day. If you only concentrate on small steps, you'll get there as quickly, without a wall of fatigue hitting you at the thought of playing the piano.

Re: How to motivate yourself
Balcon #2962130 03/31/20 06:25 AM
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All good responses above and advice I need to take myself as motivation is a struggle for me at times. I’d just like to say welcome Balcon, I think you’ll find a supportive group here.


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Re: How to motivate yourself
Balcon #2962137 03/31/20 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Balcon
Obviously now I can't have piano lessons I'm struggling to sit on that stool. I've left it a week and just fear that I'll mess up completely.


Sorry, I’m missing the “obviously” bit. Are you so dependent on your teacher that you can do nothing without them?

This period might be a good time to break free of that mindset. You might have more self-worth and self-esteem than you give yourself credit for.


Yamaha U1. Yamaha P-45. Yamaha RD-250 (a long time ago). smile
Re: How to motivate yourself
Balcon #2962161 03/31/20 08:59 AM
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All very good replies! Thank you.

Hopefully I will develop more confidence.

Really appreciate you all taking your time out to help me! Feel very welcomed already!

Re: How to motivate yourself
Balcon #2962166 03/31/20 09:19 AM
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Depending on your current standard of course (assuming you're into classical), you could download some appealing pieces from IMSLP and try them out. If you want some suggestions, let me know what your current standard is (in ABRSM/Trinity grade terms, if you know them).

If you've only just started learning piano recently, assuming you can read music, try the pieces from this book:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Easy-Classics-Moderns-Music-Millions/dp/0825640172

That was what I did during my summer holidays as a kid when my lessons stopped: trying out pieces for myself for fun.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: How to motivate yourself
bennevis #2962196 03/31/20 11:18 AM
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Thank you! I'll be buying that for sure! I've got The Classic Piano Course and Up Grade Piano. They're both really good.

Re: How to motivate yourself
Balcon #2962199 03/31/20 11:20 AM
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Be gentle with yourself. So much crazy news going on and I expect many of us have struggled with other things in life, let alone piano practice.

Don’t judge yourself as if you were still taking classes. Showing up is good enough. Start there. List a few things you would like to work. Anything more will be huge bonus.

I have let go of any expectations right now. Just grateful the piano is a beautiful reminder of how far I have come with learning to play and fulfilling my dream.


Dream came true : playing the piano
Kawai CS11/Yamaha Arius 161
lessons: 150 hours + counting
Re: How to motivate yourself
Balcon #2962229 03/31/20 12:26 PM
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I normally go to group classes once a week. The past 3 weeks the local conservatory is closed. Only yesterday the teacher decided to try to get everybody to connect at home using Zoom.

Having extra time doesn't really mean more time for practicing music. Many of us are glued to the TV during the day to hear the latest news on the C-19 and new restrictions by local governments to slow the spread of the virus. There are not many places to go during the day except grocery shopping for essentials. And the daily music practice is still an hour a day. The 1 motivation is making sound recordings for listening pleasure and experimenting with different ways of playing the same pieces.

I tend to repeat the same 2 pieces that I started before the New Year (my comfort zone) instead of learning new ones.

Re: How to motivate yourself
Balcon #2962232 03/31/20 12:47 PM
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I know many adult beginners don't do exams, but exams are what keeps me motivated. It's a goal and I like goals. Without a goal, I will feel lost. I'm working through my repertoire stuff diligently as if my exams are going ahead. I still have Zoom online lessons so I still have guidance from my teacher. I'm actually finding I'm practicing much more consistently than before the lockdown, likely because I've got extra hours on my hand. And playing the piano is a stress relief for me.

So...maybe set a goal of some sort? It doesn't have to be exam-related. Maybe choose a song that you like and learn it via any method you choose (method book, IMSLP, Youtube, etc). Learn one new song per week or every two weeks. Keep the momentum going and you should be ok!


Kawai K-500
Casio PX-735 (in retirement)
Re: How to motivate yourself
Balcon #2962246 03/31/20 01:42 PM
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Just have fun. You are free to play whatever you want. If you'd rather do something else that's fine too. Sometimes people refrain from doing something (eg practice piano) because the expectations are too high. I've heard said that procrastinators are perfectionists who have lost confidence. There's some truth to that.
I don't have TV or wifi or broadband or whatever, so my media intake is limited. And I haven't set foot out the house for 10 days. But my piano practice is not more than before, because there's a limit to how much you can practice and progress each day. Just take it easy!

Last edited by wszxbcl; 03/31/20 01:43 PM.
Re: How to motivate yourself
Balcon #2962422 04/01/20 02:50 AM
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Really really appreciate the advice guys! God bless!

Re: How to motivate yourself
Balcon #2962498 04/01/20 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Balcon
Really really appreciate the advice guys! God bless!


I'm always puzzled by the strong dependence that people have on their piano teachers. I'm teaching myself and it seems that I have endless things to work on.

Your post/title may be very telling though. You asked about motivation, not what you could work on. Then you talk about fear.

I can tell that you are a humble and positive person from your post/responses. I would apply that positive outlook to this situation and to your piano playing/practice. You could branch out and try something different. Maybe you'll learn something new about what you want from playing.

I just can't see any reason to have anxiety about playing. You play for employment, so enjoy it. Learning music is a very long journey. If you are playing, then you aren't wasting time, in my opinion. This time of exploration could take you to a new level.

How long have been playing and what have you been working toward?

Re: How to motivate yourself
wszxbcl #2962504 04/01/20 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by wszxbcl
Just have fun. You are free to play whatever you want. If you'd rather do something else that's fine too. Sometimes people refrain from doing something (eg practice piano) because the expectations are too high. I've heard said that procrastinators are perfectionists who have lost confidence. There's some truth to that.
I don't have TV or wifi or broadband or whatever, so my media intake is limited. And I haven't set foot out the house for 10 days. But my piano practice is not more than before, because there's a limit to how much you can practice and progress each day. Just take it easy!


I sometimes practice for many hours. I only watch "tv" on the tablet now and as I watch, I play piano.

Sometimes I feel exactly as you describe, that I can only progress so much each day and excess practice time is a waste.. Other days, I feel like I take big steps. I sometimes feel it's an accumulation of the long practice days that allow the big steps.

I go back and forth on the idea that there is a limit on how long you can effectively practice in a day and I sometimes wonder how others feel about it.

I think there is certainly a limit if you stress about practice

Re: How to motivate yourself
Balcon #2962509 04/01/20 09:51 AM
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My main goal is to continue working towards 'The Classic Piano Course' and I really hope to be playing Swan Lake soon (although I'm a fair bit away from that achievement).

I've been playing a few months after a long break.. I haven't played more than 6 months in one go though.

Thank you Jack, I'll definitely apply the positive outlook on my piano practise!

Re: How to motivate yourself
Balcon #2962520 04/01/20 10:24 AM
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I got me a new piano.
Now I play it almost every day for almost half an hour . . . . .I discovered the more I played the worse I became. So I did something about it. smile


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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Re: How to motivate yourself
peterws #2962524 04/01/20 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by peterws
I got me a new piano.
Now I play it almost every day for almost half an hour . . . . .I discovered the more I played the worse I became. So I did something about it. smile



I cant tell if you are being serious.

How much did you play per day, at the most?

You think that playing 30 minutes per day is better than playing an hour per day, for you?

I divide time up and make a distinction between playing and practicing. When I practice, I do more challenging things and work on specific thoughts. When I play, I just flow through what I can already do, at a comfortable level. Practicing is more challenging than playing, at least by my definitions.

Also, I divide my time up. If I play for 2 hours in a day, I may play 2, 3 or more sessions. .

Re: How to motivate yourself
Balcon #2962536 04/01/20 11:16 AM
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I don’t know if peterws is serious either but for me there’s a time limit that I can practice per day, after which I do get worse and worse. That limit is the limit that my brain can process all the stuff I learned that session. In fact, this phenomenon is so REAL for me that I sometimes have to take practice vacations, where I will take up to a week off so that my brain can process all the material I practiced in the previous days/weeks. I know I need to take this practice vacation when I have practiced consistently for a while and learning is beginning to stagnate and practices become evermore frustrating. When I come back from my practice vacation I’m clearly better than before the vacation. It’s kind of like my brain was exhausted and full and needed time to absorb everything, after which my brain can accept new material again.


Kawai K-500
Casio PX-735 (in retirement)
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