What motivates you?

Hey Improvisers,

I recently came across a headline in an online newspaper that promised to help the reader build good habits. Basically, it was about how to keep New Year’s resolutions.

While I did expect the article to speak about healthy eating, exercise, and such, I was shocked to see “practicing piano” listed as the most difficult habit to form.

Practicing piano as a “difficult” habit? How could that be?

After all, nobody ever had to tell me to practice piano. As a child, I would simply sit down and play piano whenever I felt like it, and as a teenager, I dedicated myself to three hours of daily practice, even during those times when I wasn’t taking lessons.

So why do some people (according to the article) have difficulty forming a good practice habit when it comes to music, and how can you overcome this for yourself?

The key is social motivation.

Whether you have family members who enjoy listening to you play, or fellow musicians to jam with, or weekly lessons with a friendly, encouraging piano teacher, we generally need interaction with other people to help us build good habits. Even a habit as fun as playing music.

Looking back, I now see that my family supported my early moments at the piano and, as a teenager, I immediately began playing in a rock band and jamming with my jazz-playing schoolmates. This social support created excitement and energy for me.

As a teacher, I’ve found that the students who improve the most with my KeyboardImprov.com video course are generally the ones who have family support, play with other musicians, or send me audios or videos of their playing so I can give them personal feedback and encouragement.

Take a few moments and reflect on this for yourself. How can you create an environment which gives you the social support  you’ll need to stay excited about developing as a musician.

We can inspire one another, and nowhere is this truer than with our music.

Enjoy the journey and let the music flow!


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