You've found a teacher and your first lesson is on the books. Great!
You're excited and ready to get playing, right?
Take a moment and read through these strategies.
As a piano teacher, my highest goal is to help my students succeed - and develop a love for playing the piano.
Your teacher will bring preparation, experience, and a love for playing to your private piano lessons.
That's a part of your success - excellent instruction.
But your teacher only sees you for a small amount of time each week. The rest of the time, and success, lies in your hands!
Appreciating modest wins is one of the first keys to effective piano instruction. Each and every week! Every time you put your hands on the piano, whether you realize it or not, you are making progress.
Your weekly tasks are actually weekly objectives. You've succeeded every time you play a new song, finger exercise, or even a few of measures!
The Longer Term
News flash! You're not going to be a piano master in six months. I know you know that, but have you really examined your expectations? Many students begin lessons with unrealistic expectations, then feel frustrated by their "lack of progress." Even if progress has been exceptional.
Talk to your teacher about where you can expect to be in six months. In a year. When you know what to expect, you'll be proud of your progress.
Ups and Downs
Another one of the big keys to successful piano lessons is to realize that there will be great days. And not-so-great days. And terrible days. And days where you play everything with ease!
Good, bad, terrific, or terrible - you will experience all of them. Remember that everything you feel is OK! It's all part of the journey of learning.
Tomorrow, you'll feel different. I promise.
Have A Great Attitude
Be open to receiving guidance and correction. This advice applies to everyone, young and old.
Adults, who are used to making decisions for themselves every day, have the most difficulty readjusting to being a student again.
Enjoy not having to make a decision for yourself. Have faith in your teacher. You will learn faster and more effectively.
Enjoy Being A Beginner
Yes, I mean it. It's another important key to successful piano lessons.
Our society puts a high value on being the best. And right now! Most people live life in a nearly constant state of comparison to those around them. There's no room for being a beginner, or for the process of discovery. It's all instant gratification, all the time.
Let it go. Take joy in the beauty of the simple melodies you play. Don't focus so hard on the destination that there's no enjoyment of the journey!
Take Care of Business
This might seem like common sense. But you'd be surprised if you could peek behind the scenes into the daily life of a piano teacher!
Show up on time for your lesson. Actually, show up a bit early so you're ready when your teacher finishes with the previous student. Pay on time. Only cancel for emergencies or with lots of notice. Bring your books and materials every week.
Common sense, right? ;-)
When you don't understand something, tell your teacher. Don't simply sit there and nod, thinking you'll figure it out later. It's perfectly fine! Your teacher wishes for you to comprehend! She'll gladly explain otherwise.
Remember, you're the customer! You're paying for instruction. Don't be embarrassed if you don't immediately get a new concept. Ask for clarification! You'll leave your lesson happier, and enjoy your practice much more.
Priorities get done! That's all there is to it.
Give yourself the gift of time. A daily time that's your own - to play the piano. Put it at the top of your to-do list. Above washing dishes and dusting bookshelves. Make your dream of playing the piano a priority, and you'll be getting closer to your dream every day!
Don't merely do your allocated tasks. Sit at the piano without any books or music and just fool about. Find a musical statement that sounds excellent in your right hand. Find a message on the left that goes well with it. Don't restrain yourself; simply have fun!
(And by the way - that's all there is to composing.)
I can guarantee your piano teacher wants you to enjoy your lessons, and enjoy learning to play the piano. She's your coach and one of your biggest fans! That's how I feel about my students. I want them to succeed. I want you to succeed!
My last tip? Print this page and keep it on your piano. Read it often. And tell yourself again that you really can play the piano!