Well, it's January 2nd and it seems like every article I've read in the past week has discussed New Years resolutions. That's fine, since yes, there is a positive energy at the turn of the year and it's a good time to step back and think about our goals. But how are you going to achieve these goals? How are you going to make sure that next month you don't look back at your New Year resolutions as if they're "ancient history?" You want to become a better pianist, so how are you going to insure that this isn't just another dream that gets put aside by the end of January.
The answer is simple: place yourself in an environment where you are continually inspired and motivated.
I've seen this for myself in various ways during the past few weeks:
I walk into a salad shop for lunch and make small talk with the server while I pay for my meal. His enthusiasm for the healthy (and tasty!) lunches they serve makes me want to eat better too.
I spend a few days in Lake Placid, NY, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1980. While visiting the various Olympic sites, I get inspired and go skating for some exercise. I'm not even a good skater, but what a thrill to skate on the former Olympic speed-skating loop with dozens of other enthusiasts!
It's the same with our music. It's not enough to say that we want to get better at piano. Today's enthusiasm and determination simply isn't enough to last throughout the month, let alone the entire year. We need to be in an environment where we're continually around other people who are enthusiastic about the same things we are. Go to a weekly jam session. Take a music class at a local school. Subscribe to a concert series. Take piano lessons so your teacher's enthusiasm keeps you going, week in and week out. Do whatever you can to keep your musical flame lit for the entire year. Then you'll make real progress, perhaps for the first time ever.
Here's a pianist/composer who loved hearing his new pieces performed so much that he used his composing royalties to pay the salaries of an entire jazz band; for over 50 years!