You need to read this if you can’t get to the piano every day

Every day I hear from people who love the piano and wish they could play better but can’t find the time to practice. Their professional or family schedule is so busy that days or even weeks go by without any time at the the instrument. In fact, many of my students used to be in this category themselves. The question is: how can you integrate your love of piano into your busy routine?

The answer is easy:

You just need to spend 5 minutes per day at the piano (or keyboard).

Yep, that’s it. Just 5 minutes.

It’s like me and exercising. If I try for 30 min per day, I tend to do no exercising because I run out of time or don’t feel I have the energy to do the whole 30 min. But if I “sneak in” 5 minutes of exercising when I can, daily, this gets me exercising every day and it sometimes turns into 30 minutes by all itself! But even if it’s just 5 minutes, I feel good because that’s better than nothing. A lot better! My muscles get stretched, or my heart rate goes up, and I feel refreshed. More importantly, I feel connected with my desire to exercise. This in itself will feed my interest in returning to it again tomorrow.

The 5-minute exercise thing is enjoyable to me since I can do it anytime. If I make my kids breakfast, I lie on the floor and do a little yoga while they eat. If I listen to a piece of music in the afternoon, I’ll sometimes get up and dance to it (yes, really!). If I need to go out to my car, I’ll walk down the stairs instead of taking the elevator. I’d say that without much effort, these 5-minute bits add up to 20 minutes on most days. Now, all of a sudden we’re talking about 20 minutes of exercise per day. And if I can, I’ll also go out for a brisk walk or swim for 20 minutes. (So now the 5 minutes has turned into 40 minutes!)

Here’s the key: if I aimed for 20 minutes, I probably wouldn’t so anything since I’d feel I had to carve out a 20-minute block of time. And let’s face it, I have other things I need to do, like teach, play piano, and my other professional and family obligations. You may have the same commitments.

Yesterday I saw unexpected proof that for busy people, this approach really works. I went swimming for the first time since last August (10 months ago) and was pleasantly surprised that I could swim much easier than I could last year. I didn’t get winded and my muscles didn’t tighten up. I enjoyed each lap, right from the beginning. So even though I don’t go to the gym, my system is working for me within my lifestyle. The swimming was good “proof” that 5 minutes at a time can work wonders!

The big lesson here is to find a way to integrate the piano into your lifestyle in a way that will actually work. If you can find an hour or more to practice daily, then great, by all means do it. But if you can’t, you may do best by abandoning the “ideal” amount of practice time and aiming for just 5 minutes per day, at least until it becomes a routine.

Give it a try; it may be the best thing you ever do for your piano playing!

Here are some lessons from my video course to give you something to practice today. Enjoy!

Take your left hand playing to a new level with my free ebook: Left Hand Techniques for Jazz Piano
You’ll also get my weekly jazz newsletter with practice tips and inspiration

Leave a Comment

Sign up for Blog Updates