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#2074652 - 05/01/13 12:52 AM 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved.
Jadis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/12
Posts: 24
Back in September I bought a piano and decided to take some lessons to learn what I always thought would be something enjoyable: playing music on a piano. I found myself a teacher and felt I was off to a great start; and I think I really was. I had never played before.

My goal, as I told my teacher, was to learn to play pop songs by ear and/or by reading.

So I started.

I had enthusiasm, drive, determination, and most importantly was enjoying it immensely despite the fact that certain things were difficult for me to learn like playing a block chord, or playing with two hands. I would spend hours and hours a week.

Within 4.5 months or so I had learned how to figure out simple songs (from extremely simple like Twinkle Twinkle Litte Star and as far as semi-simple pop songs like Elton John) by ear, including the accompanying block chords in the left hand and, I could read and understand fake book chord notation and play common chords with little hesitation, I had some music theory understanding, over time my curriculum moved to more reading, which I never solidified (I wouldn't even say I have solidified reading by intervals). I had begun learning to play with slightly more hand independence with broken up chords, but struggle to do so to this day.

Then, what occurred was that the nature of project at work changed and I started being drawn in to long days, stressful times, but at the same time it was very exhilarating. Basically I put most of my energies focusing on work and career.

During this time, my piano practice dwindled. I played far less and so week after week I began finding myself arriving at my teacher's doorstep telling her I had barely touched the piano since last week. But, worst of all, I discovered my initial enthusiasm and passion was not the same (in part due to the novelty wearing away but also due to my work).

For the past 3 weeks I tried to recover and force myself to sit down but ended up being very frustrated and disappointed that I have become a worse player than I was months ago. I haven't learned and completed a full song in a long time.

At the height of my abilities I could learn and reasonably perform songs like My Favorite Things, Moon River, various Beatles songs, What a Wonderful World, etc within a week. Now I have in fact regressed even from that level.

Today, I informed my teacher that I no longer wished to continue with my lessons, that I was not progressing and felt I was wasting my time and hers. I don't think it was news to her, for the past 2.5 months or so we both knew things were going downhill. The basic problem is that learning piano ceased to be very fun for me.


Questions:

-Do you think I was on a reasonable path of progress during this time?
-Do you think I gave up too easily? It's not that intend to never touch the piano again. I just am unable to commit myself to weekly assignments and regular practice. I am literally throwing time and money away.
-As adult beginners, how on earth DO you overcome the rest of your life's responsibilities? Between career, raising young kids, paying attention to my wife, and just watching an hour of TV a day there doesn't seem like much time left for piano practice.
-If I quit now, will it turn out that I will never pick up the piano again?


Edited by Jadis (05/01/13 12:54 AM)

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#2074661 - 05/01/13 01:02 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5450
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Sometimes life gets in the way. You're right, adults have many priorities and hobbies, including piano, aren't always one of them. I think you were progressing fine when you had the time, and it's normal to lose some if you don't have the time. It may be that now isn't the time for you. But you will probably find, tho it doesn't seem that way at the minute, that if you take it up later - 30+ years later for many of us - that it in fact builds back to where you are now fairly quickly.

I overcame the rest of my responsibilites by not having kids, working part-time, having no TV, and giving up skiing laugh It's always a trade-off - there's only 24 hours in a day. Only you can set your priorities for what relaxes you and rejuvenates you for the rest of your life. If piano isn't first on that list it's not a crime. If it *is* on that list, then something else will give.

So if work got in the way, that's pretty understandable. I'd feel sad, but I wouldn't have any guilt about it. And you may get inspired again when one of your kids start taking piano smile

Cathy
_________________________

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#2074666 - 05/01/13 01:15 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Originally Posted By: Jadis
-Do you think I was on a reasonable path of progress during this time?
-Do you think I gave up too easily? It's not that intend to never touch the piano again. I just am unable to commit myself to weekly assignments and regular practice. I am literally throwing time and money away.
-As adult beginners, how on earth DO you overcome the rest of your life's responsibilities? Between career, raising young kids, paying attention to my wife, and just watching an hour of TV a day there doesn't seem like much time left for piano practice.
-If I quit now, will it turn out that I will never pick up the piano again?


"Reasonable path" - Yes

"Gave up too easily" - Yes

"Between career etc" - Give up the hour of TV

"If I quit now etc -" Probably -but you don't have to quit now. You don't have to spend hours practicing to make progress at your level anyway. Get up half an hour early and give it all you've got when you're fresh.

Right now you're pretty disappointed with yourself for apparently losing some of your newly acquired skills. You probably haven't actually lost that much. You'll be surprized at how quickly they'll come back with a little bit of sustained application. There's always going to be slippage. I feel pretty bad after I work on something a couple of hours a day for months, feel pretty proud of myself, get diverted to a new piece, don't touch the first one for months, and then when I get back to it feel like I've forgotten it altogether. The feeling usualy only lasts for a couple of play throughs or a couple of days of renewed practice. It's going to be give and take and a certain amount of discouragement. The point is just to keep going at whatever pace.
_________________________
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#2074670 - 05/01/13 01:21 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: jotur]
Sand Tiger Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 993
Loc: Southern California
Learning piano is time intensive. Not everyone has the time or inclination to stick with it. It is a hobby. If it isn't fun, then it may be time to find another hobby. Hobbies are supposed to be fun.

I understand that the forum is full of enthusiasts, many with exceptional dedication, many have the substantial time (and money) that learning piano tends to require. I aim for an hour a day, but during the fall, it was more like 15 minutes.

I can add that a person that was able to learn to play some of the songs listed in a week is doing better than I am. I have over a year of an hour a day invested. For comparison, it is taking me three or four weeks to learn My Favorite Things and I am doing single whole note harmonies, not chords or arpeggios. Is my slow pace discouraging? Sure it is, but I am learning at my own pace, and can see progress, even if it feels painfully slow at times.

There isn't a right or wrong decision. It is a hobby. If it isn't fun, it may not be a good hobby for a particular person. There is no shame in that. As adults, we can make adult decisions, and some decisions are what to do with our "free" time (and "extra" money). If it isn't fun, I don't see much point to bashing at the wall, in the hopes that it will become more fun. It seems many of original goals were achieved, to be able to play some pop songs.
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my piano uploads

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#2074671 - 05/01/13 01:23 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1407
Loc: Australia
Jadis, I can well understand your frustration, I used to be a workaholic with no time for anything. However life and priorities change so if you wish to return to piano later on it will always be waiting.

Although you could focus less on the traditional classical method (if that was the way you were going) and focus more on the pop side.
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXIV-5-XXX

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#2074674 - 05/01/13 01:26 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
BenPiano Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 1171
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Jadis
-Do you think I was on a reasonable path of progress during this time?

sure

Quote:
-Do you think I gave up too easily? It's not that intend to never touch the piano again. I just am unable to commit myself to weekly assignments and regular practice. I am literally throwing time and money away.

Not necessarily, but like anything we want to get better at, it requires constant attention. Anyone familiar with golf will understand that if one plays golf once in a while, there is NO way of improving. Like golf, playing is fun, but to get better, one needs to commit. If you can't right now, no problem.

Quote:
-As adult beginners, how on earth DO you overcome the rest of your life's responsibilities? Between career, raising young kids, paying attention to my wife, and just watching an hour of TV a day there doesn't seem like much time left for piano practice.

There is only a sliver of time we can carve out for what we want to do as adult beginners. I guess one reason some kids become so good is that they have the time. My kids, on the other hand, would rather be doing other things than practicing piano. But I sit with them at the piano every day and help them practice. oops, there goes another 30-45 minutes. smokin

Quote:
-If I quit now, will it turn out that I will never pick up the piano again?

This is entirely up to you. smile
_________________________
Learning to play since June 2009.
My piano diary on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/afpaSTU1096
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#2074675 - 05/01/13 01:28 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Kids, family, job.... ect.

Its not for everyone... its not easy balancing it all and some days are harder than others.

I spent 8 years dabbling, giving up... selling my piano, missing it.... buying a piano... and repeating the process.


Now with kid and all the other responsabilatys i play because i love it. Its as much a part of my life as my kids, mortgage ,girlfriend or damned job... and causes me as much pain as any of them!

Wether you take a break,give up entirely or keep gojng.

Just balance your life to be happy more than sad, life satisfaction is more important than any one thing :-)
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulGPiano

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#2074692 - 05/01/13 02:11 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
Saranoya Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 579
Loc: Brussels, Belgium
You were making fine progress.

Did you give up too easily? Yeah, you bet. And you will probably regret it later, because you just came to a place full of people who are very passionate about piano to agonize about your decision to quit. Those who have really had it with piano don't do that.

As has been suggested, you could perhaps give up your hour of TV, or even just give up thirty minutes of sleep. At the level you are at, thirty minutes a day should be plenty. You may not learn a new song every week at that rate, but there are plenty of others, here and elsewhere, who don't learn at that rate and still get enjoyment and satisfaction out of playing.

If you decide that TV is a higher priority for you than piano, then perhaps you were right to quit, after all. But I don't really think so.
_________________________
Beginner with some priors since 9/2012

Currently Playable
Bach 846, 926, 930
Beethoven 27/2 mvt. 1
Burgmüller 100/3, 4, 7, 12, 15, 19, 25
Chopin 72/1
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Tchaikovsky 39/9

Future
Burgmüller 109
Bartok Sz 56
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#2074696 - 05/01/13 02:47 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Saranoya]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Originally Posted By: Saranoya
You were making fine progress.

Did you give up too easily? Yeah, you bet. And you will probably regret it later, because you just came to a place full of people who are very passionate about piano to agonize about your decision to quit. Those who have really had it with piano don't do that.

As has been suggested, you could perhaps give up your hour of TV, or even just give up thirty minutes of sleep. At the level you are at, thirty minutes a day should be plenty. You may not learn a new song every week at that rate, but there are plenty of others, here and elsewhere, who don't learn at that rate and still get enjoyment and satisfaction out of playing.

If you decide that TV is a higher priority for you than piano, then perhaps you were right to quit, after all. But I don't really think so.



Well said saranoya
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulGPiano

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#2074704 - 05/01/13 03:11 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 529
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: Jadis



Then, what occurred was that the nature of project at work changed and I started being drawn in to long days, stressful times, but at the same time it was very exhilarating. Basically I put most of my energies focusing on work and career.


I can relate, because something like this happened to me at the end of last year. I got a new post, promotion if you like, and the job consumes much of my free time as well and is exausting with so many things to handle and too little time to do it.

Learning to play is frustrating, I have both physical and mental problems in learning, I am angry sometimes because I struggle with things an average person would find no trouble with. I just don't let myself really consider quitting. I have done it once 35 years ago. This time I'll stick with it. Why? I just have fallen absolutely in love with piano music and even if I won't learn to play the way I want to, I can still appreciate the music played by good pianists much more after my own experience. I also believe that if I stick to it now, I will hopefully learn enough to really enjoy playing when (if) I manage to retire one day. Also I tell myself that there are some things I am good at to compensate all my deficiences. The longer I have been with it (almost 2 years now) the more it comes an integral part of my everyday life, even when I can only handle half an hour of practice.

I must tell you that I have never been good in sticking with anything. I have started a lot of things in my life that I never finished. I get bored very easily. So it makes this an even greater achievement in my own eyes. Maybe it's because I have more passion to music than anything else in life really. Just never managed to get that passion realized. I didn't have unrealistic expectations for long, since it soon occurred to me why I didn't learn much as a child...because it's so hard and I am weak. But I am older now and I can handle the difficulties a little better.

For me much of the stress comes from lessons, I never feel prepared enough. But I try not to care and it's soon the long summer break and I know I will miss lessons after a few weeks...

So with this background my answers to your questions:

Originally Posted By: Jadis

Questions:

-Do you think I was on a reasonable path of progress during this time?


Definitely. And btw, it's completely normal to lose everything if I you take a break from a piece. But I have noticed that if I come back it's a little faster to relearn every time. And I believe that only with time and experience (meaning years or even decades with piano) one gains such proficiency that remembering becomes natural.

Originally Posted By: Jadis


-Do you think I gave up too easily? It's not that intend to never touch the piano again. I just am unable to commit myself to weekly assignments and regular practice. I am literally throwing time and money away.


No, I don't think you gave up too easily, but reading your post I am not sure you have completely given up yet...I think you might just need a break from lessons, not necessarily from the piano.

Originally Posted By: Jadis


-As adult beginners, how on earth DO you overcome the rest of your life's responsibilities? Between career, raising young kids, paying attention to my wife, and just watching an hour of TV a day there doesn't seem like much time left for piano practice.


I don't always and sometimes I miss a day. But generally there's always something you can leave undone for a short sitting at the piano. Just do not let it be sleep, because less sleep=less learning.

Originally Posted By: Jadis


-If I quit now, will it turn out that I will never pick up the piano again?


If you sell your piano maybe. If not I think it will call to you again in less stressful times.

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#2074706 - 05/01/13 03:13 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
You have definitely given up easily... Where there is a will, there is a way and you seem to have lost your will.

In my 18 months of my music journey, I faced two challenges:

I have no time: Few months ago, I would only have time to sit down at the piano after 21h00 -22h00 because of many commitments - work, tutoring and kids activities... Then my wife and kids were up in arms as they wanted to sleep and not hearing me playing after 21h00.
I then purchased a digital piano so that I can turn down the music or listen to music on the headphones.

I am too tired: After a busy long day in the office, I run out of energy with no motivation to do anything else.
Then, I changed my daily swimming routine from the morning 5h30 for immediately after work. I can tell you that after a few laps swimming, I get reinverogated and my energy is repleted for piano time.

In the final analysis, we are creatures of habits and we can leverage the power of our habits to our advantage. Sticking to a daily habitual routine of 30 min can be achievable, if you are a free man.

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#2074708 - 05/01/13 03:21 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
JohnSprung Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1258
Loc: Reseda, California
Being in a seasonal business, I too get the few months a year of massive overload.

I think you were right to stop using the teacher under those circumstances. The thing to do is to go into a ten minutes every day or two maintenance routine, and figure on going back to learning when the pressure's off. Don't practice, just play what you already know. I sometimes even do other things while noodling on the keys. For instance, I read this forum with my right hand off to the side on the digital keyboard. Just melody and maybe a few simple chords, no pedal.... It just keeps up my feel for where the keys are.

The most important thing here is to take the pressure off of the piano playing. But just keep touching the keys now and then.
_________________________
-- J.S.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

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#2074716 - 05/01/13 03:53 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
peterws Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3456
Loc: Northern England.
I can empathise with you on all tis; there are simply other things to do. I retired nearly three years ago, and stopped playing then simply because I was a crematorium organist. I was sick of music; I prefer silence (I have a wife so that`s impossible lol). But finding this site re energised me and Ive had fun ever since. I can understand why I stopped; but I only need to play one note on my piano now and it sounds so darn good, I`ve got to play more . . .

I suspect what goes round comes round. You`ll be back! Don`t worry . . . have fun!


Edited by peterws (05/01/13 03:55 AM)
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes — but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2074718 - 05/01/13 03:55 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
Mete Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/13
Posts: 45
Loc: Turkey
I have started at about 8 months ago and I can relate.. And reading your post was like a nightmare for me.

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#2074738 - 05/01/13 04:52 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
Dulcetta Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/11/11
Posts: 75
Loc: U.K.
I think you have done the right thing stopping lessons for now. It must have been so frustrating not having progressed from one lesson to the next.

Getting rid of the tv hour sounds okay, except if you are working long hours , is this tv time also time spent sitting with your wife and/or kids ? If so then it is precious time and don't get rid of it, unless you can change it to a group piano/singalong session.

If you are already burning the candle at both ends then an extra hour in the morning is bad for your health and will make you more tired and less patient with your kids.

Do not feel guilty . Parenthood and work is responsibility, Piano is hobby.

Don't sell the piano though. With the pressure off you can enjoy playing at your current level whenever you get an odd 15-20 mins or so. There is no crime in staying at one level until the passion and time returns even if it is decades later.

I started as a complete beginner, did 4 months of self study and then got sick. I was stuck in bed for most of the day and any energy I could muster belonged to my child first and foremost. I hated looking at my instrument, it was taunting me, but I couldn't bear the thought of parting with it. A whole year passed and I am learning again. I can sit up for 20 mins at at time, and it is ideal for me to do a few sessions of this length.
_________________________
It will be happened; it shall be going to be happening; it will be was an event that could will have been taken place in the future. Simple as that.

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#2074744 - 05/01/13 05:04 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
Ojustaboo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/11
Posts: 155
Loc: Deleted
I don't blame you for giving up, I have worked for companies in the past where I have been promoted into high pressure positions working long hours, and those times I couldn't possibly practice a piano even if I had wanted to.

However being a few years older and looking back at my life, those years I spent making share holders richer, were simply wasted years, sure I earned a lot of money, but I spent a lot trying to de-stress too.

And I came to realise that I personally am not gaining anything of worth out of it, sure I felt important at the time (I loved it at first), but I would now rather do a simple job with average money where I have my free time to do something of real benefit/worth to me (such as learn the piano) than earn four times the amount and have virtually no life outside of work.

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#2074746 - 05/01/13 05:11 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
Mickb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/01/13
Posts: 14
I think there is one critical question that the forum cannot answer and that only you can answer yourself, and you must do so honestly.

Do you actually like playing the piano, or as you said, once the novelty had worn off, if you are honest with yourself maybe it just isn’t for you? The satisfaction of achieving something and progressing can sustain someone for a while even where the love isn’t there. But a break in things can really expose whether you actually enjoy something or not.

If I can waffle a little about myself. I am the sort of person who when I decide to take something up, won’t be satisfied until I have achieved the highest possible level I am capable of achieving in it, no matter what.

A number of years ago I started playing golf. Being me, I wouldn’t be satisfied until I was playing in the US Open, so I took it up diligently, got lessons, played once a week every Sunday morning and practiced at least a couple of times a week. I got my handicap down to 14 but I was losing shots every week, winning competitions and could have been single figures if I kept it up. But life got in the way, a house move, some family illness etc etc meant an effective 18 month break from golf.

And this was fatal. Because I realised that the dedication I had put into it didn’t mean I loved golf. That’s just my personality from the “if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right” mentality that was drilled into me by my father. The break made me realise I actually just didn’t really like golf. I enjoyed getting out with my buddies and that I do miss. But the golf itself I can take or leave, even though I have the potential to be good at it. But what I won’t do is play it badly, so I’ve quit.

Contrast that with piano. I am 40 years old and by coincidence also started playing in September. I set my mission to play Moonlight Sonata (all 3 movements) at a Recital Standard no matter how long it takes. I know that a busy career, a young child and all that goes with it means my progression won’t be even. There will be big gaps, 2 steps forward, 1 step back. By Xmas, I had a number of small songs under my belt, had a pretty decent level in a number of major scales (C, G, D, A, E, B, F#), 2 octaves SM and CM, good sight reading etc etc

But then I had to put my piano in storage due to some house remodelling and I had a 4 month break just recently taking it up again.

When I restarted, it was awful. Despite going into it in full knowledge that life would mean periods of being unable to progress, it was still devastating to start again and feel clumsy and awkward at the keyboard. That things that were simple, now seemed so difficult. For my particular personality this was hard to take and very frustrating.

But a couple of weeks of routine and I’m now ahead again. Even though I haven’t even taken a Grade 1 exam, I can play the first two pages of Moonlight pretty decently.

Why? Because I realised that unlike the golf, I actually do love playing the piano and all that goes with it.

That is what you need to ask yourself. If you do love it, then this is just a hiccup and just relax a little and accept that as an adult with career and responsibilities you are not going to progress at the same pace all the time or like a child/teenager.

Noone here can answer this for you. Be honest with yourself.

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#2074786 - 05/01/13 07:11 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Jadis, I have read your post, here:


Back in September I bought a piano and decided to take some lessons to learn what I always thought would be something enjoyable: playing music on a piano. I found myself a teacher and felt I was off to a great start; and I think I really was. I had never played before.

My goal, as I told my teacher, was to learn to play pop songs by ear and/or by reading.

So I started.

I had enthusiasm, drive, determination, and most importantly was enjoying it immensely despite the fact that certain things were difficult for me to learn like playing a block chord, or playing with two hands. I would spend hours and hours a week.

Within 4.5 months or so I had learned how to figure out simple songs (from extremely simple like Twinkle Twinkle Litte Star and as far as semi-simple pop songs like Elton John) by ear, including the accompanying block chords in the left hand and, I could read and understand fake book chord notation and play common chords with little hesitation, I had some music theory understanding, over time my curriculum moved to more reading, which I never solidified (I wouldn't even say I have solidified reading by intervals). I had begun learning to play with slightly more hand independence with broken up chords, but struggle to do so to this day.

Then, what occurred was that the nature of project at work changed and I started being drawn in to long days, stressful times, but at the same time it was very exhilarating. Basically I put most of my energies focusing on work and career.

During this time, my piano practice dwindled. I played far less and so week after week I began finding myself arriving at my teacher's doorstep telling her I had barely touched the piano since last week. But, worst of all, I discovered my initial enthusiasm and passion was not the same (in part due to the novelty wearing away but also due to my work).

For the past 3 weeks I tried to recover and force myself to sit down but ended up being very frustrated and disappointed that I have become a worse player than I was months ago. I haven't learned and completed a full song in a long time.

At the height of my abilities I could learn and reasonably perform songs like My Favorite Things, Moon River, various Beatles songs, What a Wonderful World, etc within a week. Now I have in fact regressed even from that level.

Today, I informed my teacher that I no longer wished to continue with my lessons, that I was not progressing and felt I was wasting my time and hers. I don't think it was news to her, for the past 2.5 months or so we both knew things were going downhill. The basic problem is that learning piano ceased to be very fun for me.


Questions:

-Do you think I was on a reasonable path of progress during this time?
-Do you think I gave up too easily? It's not that intend to never touch the piano again. I just am unable to commit myself to weekly assignments and regular practice. I am literally throwing time and money away.
-As adult beginners, how on earth DO you overcome the rest of your life's responsibilities? Between career, raising young kids, paying attention to my wife, and just watching an hour of TV a day there doesn't seem like much time left for piano practice.
-If I quit now, will it turn out that I will never pick up the piano again?

______________________________________________



WAIT. DON'T STOP. YOUR LIFE IS A MIRROR IMAGE OF MINE - sort of !

When I was a child, I had probably 7 lessons as a kid of 7 then we move into a trailer and no room for a piano in the 1970s - no digital in those days.

When I was 22, finished college and bought a new Yamaha upright piano for probably 1 or 2 thousands dollars (in Canada) piano on a loan. I had probably 6 or 7 lessons at most and I started my first job out of college and this was about a year when I bought the piano. My job was typing all day long and half the night on a commission job. Good money, but lots of paid overtime. Then in an ideal world, I would type 8 hours and overtime of 2 or 3 hours and go home and no longer sitting at a desk but sitting at a piano for 2 or 3 hours practicing at the age of 23 - I don't how little love and liquor I had experienced by that age, but needless to say piano practice was way, way, way down at the bottom of the list.

Young and moving often as we do, was no time to move a piano, so I sold it very cheap before my first move. In my late thirties I bought cheap broken upright piano for about $300. I don't even remember trying to even play it. I was a huge ugly piano in my tiny shack, so I gave it away to the Sally Anne.

Then in my 40s I bought a digital Clavinova because every year I wanted to play Christmas song that I can't play or sing even today. After the honeymoon of a week or two, still with the same typing job - the piano gathered dust for 20 years - a lot of dust and then at 58 I got diagnosed at the 4th stage of fatal cancer, say the doctors, but there was some hope for remission and long story short - I am still alive - but was convinced at this time in my life that playing the piano was just not going to happen in my life time which was okay and cool. So while I survived cancer and I was very weak and low energy mostly resting in bed but alive at 63 now - I looked at the piano, very dusty, and thought maybe if I sat at the piano for a few minutes each day, I could build up my sitting ability. So I sat the piano and tried to play Leila Fletcher piano course 1, basic piano - well, like all love stories, they are slow and wonderful in your brain - So after a month or 2, or 3, I fell, deeply in love with playing simple, 4 measure tunes of simplicity. Playing 5 or 10 minutes at a time because of my energy level. Last year I got pneumonia twice and I was so weak - no tears, please - I couldn't play the piano so I played a digital piano keyboard on the floor laying on my back with the piano keyboard supported by concrete blocks and tilted so I had good hand position. See what love does? - It does the impossible. That is how much I love playing the piano and do so everyday energy permitting. Just before I got the second bout of pneumonia I got a 3 legged second hand piano - a 3 dimensional lover!- my piano.

So you see, "Life isn't over until you are dead and buried.

Oh, and by the way I hated chord playing - and I don't hate anything in life - but love reading and playing any music with chords within the music or music without chords is awesome - but not playing - chords at 4/4, 3/4, 6/8 or 2/4 -- banging chords is ugly - for me - 4 times a measure, etc. Ugly at best. So like food, it is how you served the chords that make all the difference.

and - DON'T SELL THE PIANO - LET IT GATHER DUST BUT KEEP IT AROUND until the time is right for that perfect love affair with the piano. Never give up the hope of love. It can happen at any time to anyone.

cheers,


Edited by Michael_99 (05/01/13 07:25 AM)

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#2074809 - 05/01/13 07:53 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11440
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Lots of great responses here. I've seen your situation many times in students, some persevere and fight through it, some don't and give up.

Here's my take on what happened from what you said: your life changed, but you didn't try to change your schedule to accommodate at least some piano practice in each day. Because of that, you lost interest.

Piano is on of those things that when you are progressing, you love it, but when you aren't making progress it can be torture to sit down and practice. You have to realize ahead of time that you love piano and you're not going to give up on it. That means when your life changes, you find whatever time you can - even if it's 5 minutes in commercial breaks - and make the best of it that you can during this time.

I am totally convinced that one can practice very efficiently and make enough progress to avoid this frustration in lean times like this. However, you should always have that part of you that may be slightly dissatisfied that makes you think, "If only I can find another 5 minutes somewhere." That is healthy dissatisfaction as long as you do something about it.

Perhaps make a list of priorities for yourself. Family is super important, of course, and so is a job that can support them. But after you get those tow most important things out of the way, where does piano stand in relation to TV? What about in relation to the internet? Or other activities you do?

Still, I believe you can probably find 15-20 minutes each day with little to no sacrifice, either in one sitting or a couple. And your teacher can help you with efficient practice - she knows all the tricks to learning things well.

You've already told your teacher, which is unfortunate, but perhaps if your job thing is temporary, wait until that's done and contact your teacher again. It sounding like she was giving you what you needed and I'm sure she will be happy to hear you are recommitting yourself to piano. If not, take a few weeks, set a deadline for yourself to reconsider piano and see if you still love the idea of it. Most people if they hate piano find this out within the first few weeks of study, so I'm guessing you love it and will remember why soon.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2074845 - 05/01/13 08:54 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Morodiene]
tlh1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/12
Posts: 40
Loc: Florida
May be this is poor/bad advice but I never had a teacher because I'm afraid of feeling too much pressure during busy periods. Without a teacher, who stops you from practicing once a week for 20 min? I understand that one makes no or very little progress that way but perhaps you can slowly go back to your old level and then just enjoy it till you'll be able to dedicate more time again. This is pretty much what my wife is doing. She has been stuck with playing the same three songs (Alfred #1) for months but she still enjoys it whenever she plays.
_________________________
Oliver

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#2074890 - 05/01/13 10:04 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17747
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
If piano has become a chore that brings you guilt, pressure, and no pleasure, then you should quit.

If you decide to continue, I think there are a few things you could do to relieve some of your self-imposed guilt or pressure. The most important, in my mind, would be to find a teacher who is willing to work with you entirely on the skills/pieces you want to learn. It might also lift some of the pressure if you found a teacher willing to offer biweekly lessons, rather than weekly.

Learning the piano is like exercise. A few minutes a day, every day, consistently will yield positive results and is much better than brief bursts of intense practice.

That being said, I fully sympathize with your life demands. It is not a coincidence that I did not start piano until both my children were old enough to entertain themselves and I was post-tenure.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#2074895 - 05/01/13 10:06 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
Hiya Jadis.

Life just has a way of taking over our passions and dreams once in awhile eh?

I think that stopping with the teacher was probably a good idea, for now. But don't give up entirely...

I've been at this for a year or two now. Both last year and this year I had to take huge breaks from piano. I'm in the middle of struggling to get back into daily practice. I just don't have enough time! Last year with work and being sick I just couldn't get there. This year it was bf moving out, bad finaces. Now I'm struggling to get my only wheels on the road and it's taking priority. Soon that will pass and I'll be able to devote my time, and passion back to the piano. I know from last year, that this too shall pass.

My point? Give yourself a break and permission to rearrange priorites as you need them. If you love piano, you will go back to it.

Try just noodling around for awhile. Don't focus on trying to learn or get ahead. Just have fun. Do it when you can. No judging yourself!

Best of luck, and whatever you decide, do so knowing your doing what you need to do for you.
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#2074950 - 05/01/13 11:07 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
Happy Birthday Tararex Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 408
Loc: Middle Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Jadis

Questions:

-Do you think I was on a reasonable path of progress during this time?
-Do you think I gave up too easily? It's not that intend to never touch the piano again. I just am unable to commit myself to weekly assignments and regular practice. I am literally throwing time and money away.
-As adult beginners, how on earth DO you overcome the rest of your life's responsibilities? Between career, raising young kids, paying attention to my wife, and just watching an hour of TV a day there doesn't seem like much time left for piano practice.
-If I quit now, will it turn out that I will never pick up the piano again?


- reasonable path of progress? Yes it was reasonable for the first 6 months - but progress points change and become more difficult. Your easy muscle memory-rote repetition days are over. Only with continued practice will your brain make structural changes required for further advancement. This time can be frustrating as weeks will pass without any apparent progress and even a feeling of retrogression. The one day you'll sit down and something that was impossible has become automatic -- if you keep practicing.

-gave up too easily? Yes you have. Reducing stress by stopping formal lessons may be best, but giving up piano - there's no need for that! I'm just this month completing my second year and all the really cool stuff has happened in the past 8 months. This is with a practice schedule that for the past year has often been limited to 10 minutes here and there.

- overcome the rest of your life's responsibilities? Well, my kids have been long on their own, but job and family responsibilities are as time consuming as ever. For me the piano is now a responsibility. I say this because piano study has improved my focus and concentration at work and dropped my weight and blood pressure. Oh, and I'm learning how to play the piano. All this with 5 to 60 minutes a day practice. Every single day. No exceptions other than being on-the-road or down with extreme illness.

If I quit now? I don't know - probably you don't either. Perhaps it's best not to quit. I believe the reason I've not lost initiative is I do not have a teacher other than Alfreds, YouTube, Burgmuller, Clementi, Bach, Beethoven and PianoWorld. The added stress of structured lessons would make piano unpleasant - which I do not wish to occur. Nor do I berate myself when personal piano goals are not met in time. If not today, than tomorrow - as long as forward movement continues.
_________________________

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#2074954 - 05/01/13 11:12 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1717
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Don't think of it as a door closed and locked behind you. Think of it as having left a room you can always re-enter when the time is right.

Music will always be there for you if you want it.

In the meantime, we all have to put first things first, whatever those are for each of us.

Cherish what you were able to accomplish and know that you can always come back to it.
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2074967 - 05/01/13 11:32 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
ElleC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 248
Loc: NJ, USA
-Do you think I was on a reasonable path of progress during this time?

Yes that's reasonable. Especially since you said that you were very enthusiastic about it and learning was fun. I find that in everything we do, the more we enjoy doing something, the more we keep at it. So your progress was reasonable for what you put in your work.

-Do you think I gave up too easily? It's not that intend to never touch the piano again. I just am unable to commit myself to weekly assignments and regular practice. I am literally throwing time and money away

I think you're just being practical and rightfully so. If you feel that you are wasting your time and money right now, then it's probably the right choice. I wouldn't however, give up playing the piano overall. See what you can do on your own and perhaps you'll develop that enthusiasm again over time.

-As adult beginners, how on earth DO you overcome the rest of your life's responsibilities? Between career, raising young kids, paying attention to my wife, and just watching an hour of TV a day there doesn't seem like much time left for piano practice.

There's never really a time for anything if we don't give it the time. I work long hours at the hospital where I work. I go to school part time for my masters. I have a husband. (Un)fortunately no kids yet. But, I do make sure i play my piano at least 30 minutes to 1 hour a day. Most the times that happens at night before I go to sleep.


-If I quit now, will it turn out that I will never pick up the piano again?

No, I think you just need a break. When you're ready to pick it back up, you will. Besides, you're posting on PW, you will get plenty of encouragement and inspiration here to NOT completely let it all go away.

Good luck to you =)
_________________________
Adult beginner since January 2013. My only regret is that I didn't learn sooner.

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#2074970 - 05/01/13 11:36 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11440
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Another great tool that this forum offers is the MOYD thread. Check it out and you'll see how helpful something like this can be to keep you going through the rough spots in life.

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...013.html#UNREAD
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2074976 - 05/01/13 11:44 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
Jadis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/12
Posts: 24
Thanks for all the insightful responses folks.

I really did feel that it was not very meaningful and wasteful (of my time and money) to continue with lessons at this point. I still do worry that once I head down the path of stopping formal lessons that even though I will play around and practice by myself and on my own schedule, that I will eventually cease piano altogether. But I had to make a decision: it ceased to be fun and I felt pressured, AND it was costing me money. Some of you are right, I still do like the piano otherwise I wouldn't be here anguishing about things and I would be selling my piano (but I am not). In fact I just spent 15 minutes this morning completing the melody of a simplified version of The Heart Asks Pleasure First without error.

Sounds like many of you gone through this before, and did return to piano. But maybe the population of responders in this forum is skewed from the norm: it's a forum filled with adult beginners and re-starters. Still, hearing your own stories made me feel better. Thanks!

One of the responses regarding work and career was particularly thought provoking to myself. I have been in a situation at work where I have been put on a high pressure project and it turns out I have had a high aptitude for this project, becoming the center of attention which I have enjoyed very much as it made me feel accomplished and important. But at the same time I sometimes worked 11 hour days, sometimes 6 or 7 days a week. And at the same time I fully expect the end of year financial rewards to be significant (promotion, enough of a bonus to buy a nice new grand piano if I so wanted). It was as if all my enthusiasm and sense of accomplishment was sucked away from piano and drawn towards my career. The person's retrospective response above saying they would have preferred a less ambitious and time consuming career was insightful...

Today, I definitely do feel a sense of pressure relief from trying to maintain practice and progress on a weekly schedule. Piano is supposed to my hobby for pleasure, not yet another chore or assignment. I'm a grown man, if I do work I want to get paid, anything else I do for my own pleasure (which includes my family).

I'll take that advice about trying to changing my schedule and routine.

I suppose in the end even if I end up never touching the piano again it's not so bad. I'll just do what other parents have done and force it upon my children haha.

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#2074985 - 05/01/13 11:58 AM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3156
Loc: Maine
Jadis, when I quit lessons last year it took me a couple of months to really get into a new rhythm of figuring out how I wanted to play and practice the piano, without the built-in structure of what had been assigned for my lessons. You may find the same thing, as you reconnect to what you love about piano free of the pressures of having to meet externally defined goals. 7 months on, I'm comfortable in my new routine.

Kenny Werner, in his book Effortless Mastery, advises letting yourself enjoy every note you play, to appreciate it as the most wonderful note in the whole world.

Even just a few minutes at the piano daily, noodling about, will be beneficial.

If you want to learn specific skills or pieces, then learning how to practice efficiently, using slow practice and working on small chunks and allowing the power of sleep to consolidate learning, will help you make the most of your time.

Best wishes to you.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2075045 - 05/01/13 02:05 PM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8418
Loc: Georgia, USA
Don’t give up… keep it up.

As for me, I’ve been seriously learning to play the piano about 6 years or so. My progress has been slow, and I do not have a real teacher… other than many of you here on PW. smile

What I’ve learned is that, for me, the piano is more of an outlet, recreation, stress relief, or just plain fun and entertainment. I know I can’t really play all that well, but the people that love me tell me that I can. I recognize they really and truly like me more than my piano playing, but that is okay too… it is nice to be loved. smile

Thing is, on occasion, I learn a new chord, or voicing, or blues rift or boogie rift. My fingering seems more accurate and trained to go when they are supposed to go. My familiarization with the keyboard is greater than it has ever been.

I don’t force myself to play, but play when I take a notion… whether it be morning, noon or night. My playing puts a smile on my face and gleam in my eye. The enjoyment I get from it is tremendous; a kind of high, if you will. No need for me to take drugs or drink alcohol… just play my pianos. smile

All in all, it has been, and remains, a wonderful experience.

Once again, don’t give up… stay at it!!

All the best!

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#2075054 - 05/01/13 02:23 PM Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. [Re: Jadis]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 739
Originally Posted By: Jadis

-Do you think I was on a reasonable path of progress during this time?
-Do you think I gave up too easily? It's not that intend to never touch the piano again. I just am unable to commit myself to weekly assignments and regular practice. I am literally throwing time and money away.
-As adult beginners, how on earth DO you overcome the rest of your life's responsibilities? Between career, raising young kids, paying attention to my wife, and just watching an hour of TV a day there doesn't seem like much time left for piano practice.
-If I quit now, will it turn out that I will never pick up the piano again?


- Yes
- Yes. A hiatus is, honestly, just fine and almost inevitable, really. But you used the word "quit"
- It's a priority thing. Kids + wife + work definitely are a toll. The kids will get older. A good technique would be to just commit to playing five minutes each day with the caveat that if you are still enjoying yourself, you're free to continue playing.
- It's a real risk. Worse, if you do pick up the piano again after, say, 10 years of being idle, there's a risk that you'll regret the lost time. If you, say, can commit to just 5 minutes a day, the risk of your giving up piano entirely is greatly mitigated.

I definitely can see the wisdom of putting lessons on hiatus while your life is so complicated. Pausing the lessons is one way of making the piano a refuge for you as opposed to another of your many obligations. The downside is that you won't have the advantage of next week's lesson around to goad you into practicing each week. But as long as you can still make some daily time, however small, to enjoy your piano, the chances that you'll make it an increasingly important part of your life are better.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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