7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved.

Posted by: Jadis

7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 12:52 AM

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?
Posted by: jotur

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 01:02 AM

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
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 01:15 AM

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.
Posted by: Sand Tiger

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 01:21 AM

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.
Posted by: earlofmar

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 01:23 AM

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.
Posted by: BenPiano

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 01:26 AM

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
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 01:28 AM

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 :-)
Posted by: Saranoya

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 02:11 AM

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.
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 02:47 AM

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
Posted by: outo

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 03:11 AM

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.
Posted by: JosephAC

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 03:13 AM

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.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 03:21 AM

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.
Posted by: peterws

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 03:53 AM

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!
Posted by: Mete

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 03:55 AM

I have started at about 8 months ago and I can relate.. And reading your post was like a nightmare for me.
Posted by: Dulcetta

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 04:52 AM

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.
Posted by: Ojustaboo

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 05:04 AM

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.
Posted by: Mickb

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 05:11 AM

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.
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 07:11 AM

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,
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 07:53 AM

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.
Posted by: tlh1

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 08:54 AM

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.
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 10:04 AM

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.
Posted by: BeccaBb

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 10:06 AM

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.
Posted by: Tararex

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 11:07 AM

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.
Posted by: ClsscLib

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 11:12 AM

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.
Posted by: ElleC

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 11:32 AM

-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 =)
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 11:36 AM

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
Posted by: Jadis

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 11:44 AM

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.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 11:58 AM

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.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 02:05 PM

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
Posted by: Whizbang

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 02:23 PM

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.
Posted by: 4evrBeginR

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 03:52 PM

Stress from work takes a serious toll on practice time because the more tired I am after work, the less I want to do another difficult activity that requires learning, and learning piano is difficult. The wife and kids also take priority, so in the end, watching an hour of TV require far less energy than an hour of piano, plus it could be done with the family. There were days when I fell aspleep at the piano, and I've learned to just go to bed instead.

I do my best to practice more on weekends and some weeks very little if at all on weekdays (so I still avergage 5-7 hours a week). I felt bad about this initially but have accepted it. After 3 years of lessons, I find I am making progress, slower than if I practiced an hour a day everyday, but far better than not at all. My teacher is generous enough to recognize I am a very busy professional with young children and all the commitments that comes with that.

This is the reason I soldier on because I do I love piano. Another reason is that I did take lessons for a few months then quit, and 20 years went by before I touched the piano again, and I very much regret that. Having said that, there is not a single week that goes by in the last 3 years with all the demands of a career and family that I ask myself why am I doing this. I come back to the fact that I love piano, and losing 20 years was enough, and looking back on life, I don't want my career to be the only thing that defined who I am.
Posted by: wouter79

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 04:14 PM

For the other questions, you clearly already answered them yourself so I'm not sure why you even ask. Here:

>Basically I put most of my energies focusing on work and career.

So you shuffled your priorities. That's it.

Maybe the piano never delivered what you were looking for.

Were you playing acoustic or DP?

Did you try classical pieces?
Posted by: Charles Cohen

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 06:21 PM

I just "picked up the piano" after a 40-year lapse. So yes, it's possible.

Adults aren't kids. We aren't learning piano because Mommy thinks it would be a good idea. We have "real-life" concerns far beyond our grade in the current semester's courses. And we can take the "long view" of pleasures, and responsibilities.

If you have to stop lessons (that is, you're not doing enough practice to improve), don't kick yourself too hard. Don't throw out your teacher's phone number -- he/she has probably seen this happen before, especially with adults. And come back when you have more time.

The doors that music opens, never close.

. Charles
Posted by: pv88

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 06:50 PM

Originally Posted By: Charles Cohen
The doors that music opens, never close.


As Charles mentions here above music will always be with you so just never quit!

It can reap great rewards and enjoyment at any/all levels of ability.
Posted by: hamlet cat

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 09:35 PM

This is what I know from my experience. I hope this helps.

It's okay to feel the need to walk away from piano. It may even be healthy taking the learning pressure off, and as you noted feeling relieved. But it doesn't have to be permanent, just as long as you need to be away from it to be completely refreshed. I think that taking a break is something many adult learners need to do. I did it, and came back when I was ready much stronger than when I left.

The pressure and disappointment comes from not progressing as fast as one would like. There are definite milestones, and you experienced one. These learning milestones help give the energy and determination to get to the next one. When it does not come as fast as expected the energy goes away.

I think if you take a good break and come back you will be revived and ready to get to the next milestone. So take time away, don't pressure yourself to get back on the piano. The desire may come back stronger than you think. And if that happens, the next milestone will be very close. It just happens this way, from my experience.
Posted by: 4evrBeginR

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/01/13 09:45 PM

I had to take a six month break over a year ago in order to focus on writing my master's thesis, and surprisingly while I made absolutely no progress in piano during those 6 to 8 months, my worst fear did not come true. I didn't completely forget how to play the piano. I was pretty much back in shape after 2 or 3 weeks of getting back. Short breaks are fine, as long as they don't go on for 20 years.
Posted by: xorbe

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/02/13 02:42 AM

It took me 5 starts over 10 years to get into running, which I really wanted to do. Now on my 5th year of running every week, and at a 6:20 pace for 13 miles -- just depends on how bad you wanna do something!!! My piano skills pale in comparison ... check back in 5 years. grin Actually this would be my 3rd attempt at getting into piano, and 5th into any instrument.
Posted by: Kristina1

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/02/13 06:03 AM

It is so sad that your teacher did not take you aside
to inform you that after the first "burst of enthusiasm",
after the routine of learning and studying has started to set in,
many students go through a difficult time
when their whole effort of learning seems to "stand still". -

There have been some professional papers written about this phenomenon,
making the point of just "sitting it out"...
and to continue all the same, until things become easier again.

I talked in the past with some golfers
and they had similar difficulties
and just "had to sit it out" and continue all the same.

Some golfers, like for example, Nick Faldo, felt at one point
that he had to start from the very beginning again,
when he realized that his "grip" had been wrong from the start
and he saw no chance to develop from there
unless he started from the very beginning again - and he did.
Just imagine!

I am saying this because your emotions are completely normal
and you "only" have to "sit it out" and play whenever you can
and continue as best as you can,
until your circumstances settle better again... and continue from there.

I wish you good luck and all the best from Kristina.
Posted by: justpin

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/02/13 06:54 AM

Maybe I'm odd or something but I come home and play to unwind and escape from the day. I take the stance that there is no practice only playing some playing is better than others though.
Posted by: sinophilia

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/02/13 07:08 AM

Learning piano can be terribly frustrating - one day you rejoice for having progressed a bit, the next one you find you can't play even the easiest stuff. Some people pick it up very quickly, but I think I can say that most of us don't. It's lots of hard work. It would be great to just sit at the piano and noodle around and play a few nice songs, but I don't think that's really possible after only a few months. I've been learning for a little over 1 year and I don't have much to show off, maybe 4 or 5 easy tunes. Some people concentrate more on repertoire and spend a lot of time on difficult, impressive pieces - often with good results. To each their own. I hope you stick with it and find your very own way to learn and play, and enjoy it.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/02/13 07:26 AM

Originally Posted By: sinophilia
I hope you stick with it and find your very own way to learn and play, and enjoy it.


I think the recurring theme here is that everyone here has "quit" or had frustrating times, low periods, etc. in their piano playing. But they came back after a break. For me, I gave up and came back so many times that I decided I just going to quit giving up. smile
Posted by: dmd

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/02/13 08:02 AM

Something that I would add to the previous thoughts and suggestions would be to ...

DROP ALL EXPECTATIONS !!

If you don't have time for weekly lessons, then stop taking lessons for the time being.

Just get a book and progress through it very slowly page by page.

Don't hurry.

Don't measure your progress by how fast you move through the book.

Just do it when you have time and can enjoy the moment.

Think of it as, sort of, a secret skill you are building and someday you will "come out" and let it be known that you can "play".

No hurry. You have years.

Just keep going. A little at a time.

No expectations. No rush.

Play slowly and accurately.

Insist on perfecting things before moving on.

If something seems simple and you are struggling with it. So what ?

Just keep working with it, slowly, carefully.

It will come ... eventually. Not when you want it too but when you are ready.

No expectations. That breeds frustration.

Think of it as something you are just going to do because you want to.

It will take years but you will eventually be able to "play".
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/02/13 08:54 AM

Originally Posted By: dmd
Something that I would add to the previous thoughts and suggestions would be to ...

DROP ALL EXPECTATIONS !!

If you don't have time for weekly lessons, then stop taking lessons for the time being.

Just get a book and progress through it very slowly page by page.

Don't hurry.

Don't measure your progress by how fast you move through the book.

Just do it when you have time and can enjoy the moment.

Think of it as, sort of, a secret skill you are building and someday you will "come out" and let it be known that you can "play".

No hurry. You have years.

Just keep going. A little at a time.

No expectations. No rush.

Play slowly and accurately.

Insist on perfecting things before moving on.

If something seems simple and you are struggling with it. So what ?

Just keep working with it, slowly, carefully.

It will come ... eventually. Not when you want it too but when you are ready.

No expectations. That breeds frustration.

Think of it as something you are just going to do because you want to.

It will take years but you will eventually be able to "play".


+1. Excellent post.
Posted by: xorbe

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/02/13 11:43 AM

I forgot to mention that I quit my guitar lessons for similar reasons ... he was a young very talented player who studied under a couple big names, and normally taught younger people, but be knew squat about successfully transferring his knowledge and skills to an older busy adult! With the piano I feel like I play to unwind, but with the guitar I felt like I was grinding and burning my lesson money. Perhaps I'll try again after I make a dent in my piano skills and music sight reading ...
Posted by: ElleC

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/02/13 12:04 PM

Originally Posted By: xorbe
normally taught younger people, but be knew squat about successfully transferring his knowledge and skills to an older busy adult!


Agree! it's important to find that right teacher. Not every good pianist can teach and not every teacher can teach adult students.
Posted by: PaperClip

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/02/13 06:51 PM

In my opinion you have a bad coincidence of having a burst in your career at the same time as piano playing after a few months. Hence the drop of the fun of playing the piano.

First year I consider as the most difficult, because the excitement of novelty flaws away. There might be too high expectations, wrong self motivation. Or music is too simple, frustration. I have lot of up and down feelings that I needed to learn how to cope with. After a year of playing my feelings about playing get better in control and stayed at a high with less up and downs. Since then I had the feeling piano playing was something I could do for years no matter what happens.

A new job could be very stressful. I changed career to cooking. I have to learn, go to school again and make a lot of hours. As a cook in good a restaurant it's normal to work 11-13 hours a day. I've been busy 6 days a week and sometimes 7 days. So I know piano playing is something I could do less and less concentrated, and sometimes not at all.

The lessons changed. There is more talking about music and technique, rather than playing my homework which isnt much. I just ask questions about music, talk about it, and try to understand music and technique. But most of all I like the personal attention just for me and about my hobby. I know that's something adults get less in their lives. It's stress relieving.

I can also understand your feelings of getting worse. Well, there are no worse feelings than feelings about getting worse. I have skated from youth till 35 years. At 24 I was at my high and since then it has been downhill. The drop in technique was so bad that I hate the last years of skating. But this year at 40 years, I have skated a few days and I love it like it in the early days.

So in my opinion I could you give an advice for what is worth. You should stop playing piano for now. You should give your job all focus.

But don't give up playing piano. First you need to ease out the bad feelings. You need the enjoyment and pleasure you have in the beginning. So the bad feelings you don't want. The bad feelings need to be erased from emotional memory, otherwise they come back. So play the piano when you have the time to relax and you aren't tired. I would say, stop for two months at least but maybe more and then play when you have positive feelings. Doesn't matter what you play. Just fill the room with sound. Play as long or short as you want.

Your job has all your focus and it's so intense your brain is still occupied when at home. You need to break that somehow. Maybe you could have one day in a week, not someday in week, where you meditate, sport and do quality time with your family. So not working 7 days a week anymore. Thats a start.

You 'll have to learn how to cope with your job and how to cope with playing the piano. Start experimenting, you know what you want. Just see what works for you. Try everything in the way you want and if after a year you have still the bad feelings about piano playing, then stop.
Posted by: KBS1607

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/08/13 01:07 PM

Quote:
Just do it when you have time and can enjoy the moment.

I had an experienced musician tell me this and also enjoying cooking for example.
It is really good advice. I practice a lot more than I used to and feel a lot better about my progress. I went into piano looking for a 'secret' which I think is an adult thing. So when I started practicing and didn't show immediate results I was discouraged. Now that I'm looking at it differently I am happy with the results I'm getting.
I do wish I had started earlier etc but agree that you should at least keep sitting at the piano and playing.
Posted by: Norrec

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/08/13 01:43 PM

You should try practicing in the morning. I was having similar troubles - I was having to work on weekends and had several late nights. By the time I got home and exercised, cooked, cleaned up, whatever else I needed to do, I was tired and just went to sleep.

Eventually I realized there was only one time when I wasn't tired and working late would have no effect, the morning! Now I wake up at 5:30am, eat and get ready for work, then practice 6:00am to 7:00am. For the past several weeks I've done this and feel like I've made more progress in that time than in several months before.

I'm wide awake and ready to go. There are no distractions. I have nothing else to look forward to because my options are A) piano B) go to work. It's an easy choice. Since I have a solid hour no matter what I find I'm a lot better about using the practice techniques my teacher and I talk about. Before I'd just play all my pieces a time or two and then either fall asleep or go do something else. Now I play hands separate, hands together, I count, I practice the hard sections...

I naturally wake up early so this wasn't a big change for me. I also never became addicted to coffee. If you can pull it off I think morning practice is a great way to overcome work trying to take over your life.
Posted by: Charles Cohen

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/08/13 03:02 PM

Quote:
The wife and kids also take priority, so in the end, watching an hour of TV require far less energy than an hour of piano, plus it could be done with the family.


I spent many years without a TV. I read a lot more, then. Might go back to "no TV", if the cable company keeps raising its rates.

I think, between an hour of watching TV, and an hour of practice, I'm more refreshed after the practice.

But I agree on one thing:

. . . Practice, when exhausted, isn't fun.

. Charles
Posted by: MaryBee

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/08/13 11:20 PM

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.
-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?
Jadis, why do you think of this as giving up? It's just the approach that fits your life better at this time. I can tell you that when I was raising my four kids and working full time, there was no way I could have had time to make lessons worthwhile (even with no TV). I would play a few times a week, just for fun and to keep music in my life. But now that my kids are grown, I can take lessons and spend hours a day on piano. No need to feel guilty or frustrated with your choice. Enjoy your current situation for what it is, and at some point in the future, you can spend as much of your free time and energy as you want on piano.
Posted by: Daniel Corban

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/18/13 08:57 AM

Does anyone think the goals here had something to do with it? It seems to me that the goals of simply learning to play some pop songs by ear is just asking for frustration. I can see that if you don't feel like you are learning the songs you desire quickly, that despair would set in.

With the same amount of effort in the same amount of time, you could learn how to play piano in general, using a combination of sight and intervalic reading, basic knowledge of chords and fingerings. What good is a year of learning and practice if it just allows you to play a few Elton John songs?
Posted by: Sand Tiger

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/18/13 10:20 AM

Originally Posted By: Daniel Corban
Does anyone think the goals here had something to do with it? It seems to me that the goals of simply learning to play some pop songs by ear is just asking for frustration. I can see that if you don't feel like you are learning the songs you desire quickly, that despair would set in.

With the same amount of effort in the same amount of time, you could learn how to play piano in general, using a combination of sight and intervalic reading, basic knowledge of chords and fingerings. What good is a year of learning and practice if it just allows you to play a few Elton John songs?


Yes, I think the goal did have something to do with it. Good point there. However, I believe you are over estimating the progress that could have been made going a traditional classical route in seven months for an average person.

While there are many on the forum that rocket through the method books, the average beginner is still in book one of a method book at seven months. Perhaps working on songs such as Camptown Races or Blow the Man Down or the theme from Gilligan's Island. Many get bored with from that kind of song selection. Yes, more interesting beginner classical pieces could have been selected, but if a person isn't a lover of classical music, those classical selections are as boring as the beginner method book songs.

It might well have gone the other way. The progress might have been much slower, if the pieces were not interesting.

The goals were the most part achieved. So the what next question comes up, along with a ratcheting up in difficulty in the lessons. Combine that with more time for work and the result isn't surprising.
Posted by: Bob Newbie

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/18/13 11:22 AM

If your goal is pop piano, there is so much material available on YouTube regarding lessons
its mind boggling..no paid teacher is necessary, just learn your chords and the inversions
and your on your way..my goal is cocktail piano, mind you I've played jazz guitar for over 40yrs and switched to piano due to inflammation in my forearm/pinky finger(can't play guitar anymore) so I bought some various play piano DVD's gleaned what I could, and piano
fake books, for the chords only, I already know the melodies in the Great American Songbook
and sometimes I even use sheets from this site..http://www.theguitarguy.com/songs.htm

http://www.theguitarguy.com/songs.htm
Posted by: Rickster

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/18/13 11:27 AM

No need to quit, and I see nothing wrong with wanting to learn a few Pop songs by ear. And, fwiw, it takes years or even a lifetime to play well and master the keyboard/piano.

Why not just take what you have learned, be thankful for that, and keep plugging away at it... smile

I play by ear mostly, and my goal is to be able to sit down at the piano and play anything I have ever heard, with some degree of proficiency. I'm a long way from that goal, but have already learned a lot and had a boat-load of fun along the way!

Keep it up, and good luck! smile

Rick
Posted by: adultpianist

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/18/13 12:11 PM

I work in a demanding full time job and long hours. However, I have never felt like quiting my piano stuies because they mean too much to me and my love for the piano is too great for me to stop. I fit in my piano studies for about an hour after work and a few hours at the weekend. I have never not enjoyed them and love the challenge of learning.

Am I an exception to the rule here because most of you on this thread have felt like giving up when life gets too busy, but I have never felt like that
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/18/13 08:07 PM

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?

__________________________________________________


During our lives we play the piano and stop because of health, lack of money, lack of time, job requirements, family requirements - lack of a million reasons.

Now as an old man, I have learned something that I didn't know.

I had an electric piano (digital) gathering dust for about 20 years. I looked at the dusty piano because I was weak from health issues and wondered if I could sit at the piano and increase my ability of being able to sit up for more than a few minutes.

So I opened a Leila Fletcher piano course book 1 and started playing the 8 measure pieces. This is what I discovered. I couldn't afford a teacher so there was no pressure for a lesson being bad or good. I could only play for 5, 10 minutes or not at all because I was too tired/weak. So I might try to play several times during the 24 hour period for 5 or 10 minutes if I was able to. Well, I fell deeeeeply in love with the piano. I worked through the beginner book very, very, very slowly, but without errors. I had dreams of playing the piano but the reality for me was playing these little pieces day after day, for a years. Of course, it was simple, little tunes of about 50 pieces.

What I learned was that with a little bit of time done when you can, you can accomplish a lot or you accomplish nothing if you do nothing.

So again what I learned was to do what I can do and do it the best that I can with the time, money and energy - bringing me great joy. Down the road, it might be possible to play complicated music - but that can take a teacher, time to practice for a lesson, and all sorts of commitments of time, money, and energy.

So you might take some time to decide what you can live with - not learning difficult pop songs but settling with just playing a little piano learning from a method book that will keep your fingers and brain working through the measures slowly and easily without stress giving you the joy of continuing to play a little piano until the timing is right for a faster pace that you can handle.
Posted by: 4evrBeginR

Re: 7 months in and I have quit. Frustrated, sad, relieved. - 05/18/13 10:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Michael_99
What I learned was that with a little bit of time done when you can, you can accomplish a lot or you accomplish nothing if you do nothing.

So again what I learned was to do what I can do and do it the best that I can with the time, money and energy - bringing me great joy. Down the road, it might be possible to play complicated music - but that can take a teacher, time to practice for a lesson, and all sorts of commitments of time, money, and energy.


Well said. Some of the most comforting music are very simple and pretty easy to learn. Good music doesn't have to be complex.