I hope the weather has been a little more consistent where you are than it’s been here in New York City. New York’s winter usually hovers around the freezing point, which means that snow doesn’t stick around for long. It’ll snow, and then the next day the temp will rise a few degrees and everything starts to melt. Crossing our massive slush puddles becomes a sport unto itself!
But this month has been more extreme. One week we get the biggest blizzard in over 100 years (26 inches in Central Park) and a few days later it feels like spring. Now it looks like we’ll get a little snow again. (Maybe it’ll stay around for a few days this time!)
As I’ve been interacting with my piano students, it occurs to me that many aspiring pianists practice like this kind of weather. Hot and cold, hot and cold…. You get inspired, or have some extra time and you practice for a few hours each day. And then… nothing. It stops and you lose everything you’ve learned how to play.
The worst part of this is that we get frustrated by not being able to play something that we could play comfortably just a week ago. The problem isn’t in getting “hot” for a few days, it’s the “cold” part that sets in afterwards.
So yes, get inspired. Take advantage of a relaxed schedule to get to the piano more often. But what you want to do for the long term is aim for consistency. Don’t be like the NYC weather!
Make a habit out of getting to the piano for at least 5-10 minutes on most days. Just like you show up for breakfast every day, show up for a little fun piano playing. Once you do it for a few weeks, it becomes a habit that you’ll look forward to on a daily basis. Then you’ll be building a thread of continuity between your “hot” moments that will elevate your playing overall. As you become more consistent in your practicing, you’ll become more consistent in your piano playing. And this consistency in turn will become the real foundation for your musical growth.
Practicing piano improv for a minimum of 5 minutes a day, every day, will enable you to become the piano player you want to be. I’ve seen this happen with many players over the years, and it will happen with you too!
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