I was in my pre-teen years. It was during that time my mother said the following (in so many words). “If you aren’t willing to practice, then we aren’t paying for piano lessons.” I doubt she remembers that particular moment, but I do.
That moment has stayed with me through the years. I think because I had come to a major crossroads. At the time it seemed like one of those “everyday” moments which passed in everyday life. In reality it was a defining moment – a decision that would impact my future education and career. I was either going to commit myself to learning and growing at the piano…or I wasn’t.
Many who have studied piano experienced a similar situation I had with my mother years ago. I’ve worked with many adults who quit music lessons as a kid. I wish I had a dime every time someone said, “I regret quitting lessons early in life.” Some wanted to take lessons as kids, others did not. Some played for years. Some played for a few months. Some had positive experiences, others didn’t.
I understand. There are plenty of things I regret from my past. I try not to dwell on them anymore than it gives me reason to change in the present. I’ve never actually said this aloud, but the thought has crossed my mind. Have you ever considered it was a good thing you quit lessons as a kid? (Gasp!) It’s possible you would have had a terrible experience learning at a younger age. Who knows? Maybe now is the best time to start playing.
Am I saying one should not take music lessons as a kid? Of course not. What I am saying is perhaps you are more motivated to learn now because you didn’t learn all you wanted as a child. See where I’m going with this?
Here’s the takeaway. Sometimes opportunities present themselves at a time in our lives when we need them most. Maybe we are more motivated and prepared than ever to learn how to play the piano as an adult. Perhaps retirement is the perfect time to immerse oneself in a new found love, a creative outlet, a novel adventure. In short – it’s meant to be.
So, let’s stop with all the feelings of “guilt” which carry so much negativity and lack of action. We can reframe our past and use it to our advantage. We can move from “I feel guilty” to “I feel motivated.” Action follows motivation, and action produces results. Results are a good thing at the piano. And who doesn’t want to improve their playing? Let’s keep moving forward, with self-care and motivation.