Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Motivation to Practice

If a child desires to be a great piano player, he/she must practice.  It is the only way.  It does not matter if the child happens to be highly intelligent, highly talented, or has a better than average memory.   This is not what it takes to become a great piano player.  It takes practice.

All piano players, great, and not so great, have one thing in common – they have to practice. It was once believed that in order to become an expert, the student must spend 10,000 hours on nurturing his/her talent.  It has to be done every day.  If a child spends one hour a day playing the piano, that would be 365 hours per year.   At that rate, it would take 27.40 years to become an expert player. 
However, if the child spent two hours a day, that would be it would only take 13.70 years to become an expert.  Experts are now questioning this theory.  It is important for the child to practice, but experts also agree that the better piano players have talent which makes them better players.

When parents and their children agree that the child should take music lessons, they need to decide on the goals they want the child to achieve and how much time the child should spend on achieving that goal.  It could save the parent time, money, and heartache in the event the child decides he no longer wants to pursue the goal.

When discussing music lessons with a child, it is important to explain to the child why they are having lessons, why it is important to practice, and the parents’ expectations when it comes to the child practicing their lessons.  If both parents and child understand the importance of practice, the child is more likely to engage in practice.   The child must also know what the practice schedule is and must be reminded to practice.

I believe it is important to consider the child’s feelings, also.  If the child is not as delighted as the parents are for the child to take the lessons, the child will not engage in practice because he/she is not interested.  I have witnessed this happen too many times.  The parents have to explore their reasons for wanting the child play the piano.  Is the parent unknowingly trying to live vicariously through the child?

A music education will benefit the child, but if there is no talent, it is a waste of time investing in the child by giving her/him an instrument which will only gather dust.  The parents would be better off trying to determine if there is some other talent or talents which the child has.  The child will benefit more by developing the talent that he/she already has.

If the child is involved in too many activities, the child may be overwhelmed with trying another activity such as regular practice.  It is good to have children involved in extracurricular activities.   However, if there are too many activities, the child may not have time for practice.  Therefore, it is important to assess the number of activities the child is engaged in and how important each one is to the development of the child.  It is also important for children to spend time on homework and study.

Although practice is important, expert piano players, as all other talented individuals have ways of memorizing and storing information in their brains which help them to remember how to perform certain functions.  These ways are superior to most people and will enable them to become better piano players.  The degree to which children are able to store information in their brains will enable them to become great piano players.

In conclusion, children must have a consistent practice regime in order to become great piano players and need guidance from the parents in adhering to a practice schedule.


  1. Great post. I've been playing piano since I was very young. I took lessons for years but don't practice very often anymore. Still it seems like when I do play, it's like I never left it.

  2. Great! You should play more often, if that is the case. Thanks for responding.