Music Appreciation · Piano Lessons · Piano Practice · Piano Teaching

Feeling Guilty About Not Practicing Piano Enough?

We all have those moments, especially as adults, that we feel bad about not having time to work on something we choose to do outside work/home, something we want to be better at, whether it is a language class, a dance class, a sports, or an exercise class.

I just want to say that it is completely normal when you feel like that. It actually can be a good thing – until it turns bad for you.

What do I mean? We only feel bad not spending time on something we are “supposed” to work on because:

  1. We ourselves choose to do it and pay for it.
  2. We actually care about getting better at it.
  3. We worry that others, including our instructors, think we don’t care to be better at it.

So let’s go through these three points one by one.

First, yes, we choose to do it, whether it is piano lessons, Spanish class, or personal training. And, we personally pay for it – not our parents, our partners. WE, pay for it. So we feel we must spend enough time and effort to get good at it, otherwise, why are we doing this?

But, we are BUSY. We have work, family, kids, friends, and other activities.

So, when this one week is done and it’s our _____ (insert whatever you’re learning weekly), we feel guilty.

“Oh no, it’s that time of the week again, and I need to show that I did something about it to my instructor!”

We panicked. We’re worried that we’re not going to perform well.

It can be a good thing to feel we should put effort into something we’re learning, because that keeps us getting better at it.

But sometimes, it also pulls us back from moving forward.

I know because I have been a teacher for long time and I am also a lifelong student.

I panicked when I signed up for something I really wanted to get better at it but felt not prepared for every lesson. And my instructor would keep encouraging me and tell me that I’m doing great, but I still felt guilty about not putting enough effort practicing on my own and getting better.

So my advice is, RELAX (shouldn’t be in capital letters because it doesn’t look very relaxing, but I want to make my point here).

Sometimes all we need is to move small steps forward, one step at a time. It might feel such a slow progress at what we’re trying to be better, but if you hang in there, for longer period of time, keep trying, and then when you look back, you can see, and feel, how far along you’ve come. Trust me, I know. And I think you know too, if you really look at something that you’ve achieved so far, something you didn’t give up on. Think about how much time you’ve spent on it, then look at how much time you have been learning to play the piano, the latter is very short in comparison.

Just so you know, your instructor wants you to have FUN while you’re learning to do it. And it’s okay to take more time to learn the basics. Think about how much more fun you would have when you’ve really mastered it – the sky is the limit.

And don’t believe in those 1-month courses in anything. They can be an introductory courses, something for you to try and test the water so to speak, to get a feel of it. And by the way, YouTube videos are not going to give you a structured way of learning – unless they are part of the course. They can be helpful with some pointers here and there, but they’re not going to give you a very thorough understanding of that subject you’re trying to learn. Because if they do work, then everyone is a pianist/athlete/stock trader/programmer/doctor (very scary thought for especially the last one!).

Enjoy whatever you’re learning, as learning is a journey, not a race.

And until next time, this is,

Teresa Wong