Practicing for enjoyment today, improvement tomorrow

When you sit down to practice piano, what are you trying to do?

I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately, and in many ways it’s the “big” question for all of us pianists.

Over time, I think that most pianists gradually accept the fact that we’re not going to “improve” in every practice session. At least not linearly. We may or may not get better at improvising on Giant Steps during a 45-minute practice session. We may or may not play Chopin’s Revolutionary Etude faster by practicing it today. We may or may not play “Bohemian Rhapsody” smoother by practicing it today. And we may or may not feel more comfortable in the key of F# in a single day.

The key, though, is to enjoy the process. It’s much more emotionally healthy (and realistic) if our goal is to sit down at the piano and enjoy the process of practicing.

Practicing piano as its own reward.

I’ve also realized that if I diligently practice something today, I’ll be able to play it better tomorrow. Or the day after that.

So rather than become frustrated if my playing doesn’t seem to improve today, I’m enjoying the process of spending time at the piano for its own sake. And yes, I keep in mind that today’s practice session will reap rewards tomorrow or the next day in terms of technical and musical improvement.

Practicing for enjoyment today, improvement tomorrow.

Enjoy the journey, and “let the music flow!”

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