My mom is an exceptional piano teacher (Ok, granted I might seem bias and all but seriously, you can ask her students and they’ll agree), she’s fastidious, determined and provides constructive feedback. I started playing the piano when I was three years old and practiced practically every night with my mom until I graduated high school. That’s well over 5,000 hours of practicing with the teacher!
What I remember most from practicing with my mom is playing those problem spots in a piece over and over again until I got it just right. I’d get all frustrated and annoyed when I couldn’t play things perfectly the first time. Inevitably when learning a new piece I would hit a wall and complain, “I hate this piece, I just want to quit.”
But my mom would urge me own, “You can do this, you have to practice.”
And we’d work together, playing it over and over again. In every piece I learned, I would have to practice a few measures 10-15 times in a row before I’d have the timing and everything just right. Sometimes my Mom would be cooking dinner while I was practicing and she’d yell from the kitchen “play that part again and….slooooow dooooowwwwwnnnnnn”
The value of my Mom’s teaching is something that I carry with me still today. I not only learned how to play the piano, I also learned how to practice, and ultimately how to persevere. Learning something new takes time, and continuous effort. From my experiences learning to play the piano, I now know that I need to dial in on problem areas and work through them until the whole flows together seamlessly. And I also know that the progression of learning something new goes from fun and exciting, to dull and painstaking before it is easy and enjoyable.
So, if you’re learning something new and you’ve tried at it once or twice and get frustrated, don’t give up. My Mom taught me that you have to practice it to get it perfect. There will likely be times you’ll want to quit when learning anything new, but it is well worth the effort to stick with it and practice. You’ll accomplish something you can be very proud of as a result!
My definition of practice based on my experience learning piano from my Mom.
P – play it again
R – remember to play it again
A – and again
C – continue trying
T – try more
I – Improvement is coming
C – Close, you’re getting close
E – Enough, you’re ready to perform
Thanks for everything you taught me Mom! Happy Mother’s Day