In my lifetime, I have learned to ‘Never say never’. It seemed that as I got older, every time I would say to myself or to Irene ‘I’m never going to do that again!’ I would find myself in the THAT I had previously referenced. The biggest that was living on the East Coast. When Irene and I left NJ/NY some years ago, we adamantly both said that we would never live on the East Coast again, only to find ourselves moving to Massachusetts not many years later.
Twenty years ago when I first rededicated myself to once again play the piano, I began with 1/2 hour of daily practice. That quickly moved to 45 minutes/day, and just as quick I increased my time to 1 hour/day. My practice time stayed at 1 hour/day for years and that was plenty effective for me to progress at a steady pace.
About 10 years later, I found myself having improved beyond my original ability and hopes, and immediately knew that the only way for me to further improve would be to increase the length of my practice time. Ok, 1 1/2 hours/day/5x week. That was still logistically workable for me so I would simply wake up earlier in order to ensure that I got my practice time in. It soon became clear for me that I absolutely loved playing the piano and the increased length of practice time had again allowed me to progress. But now I wanted more…
It wasn’t long before I increased my time to 2 hours/day/5 days a week. While this amount of time seems lengthy, my practice time was hardly noticed because it was all so enjoyable to me. Two hours/day/5 days a week was great. I was improving even more, and now playing classical pieces quite well at a semi-advanced level became the norm for me.
Last week, I again increased my practice time. I just went ahead and did it. Three hours/day/5 days a week. Time consuming in the scope of a full day? Well, yes but I do wake up now very early in the morning to ensure I get that time in and although my practice is always a challenge, it has everything to do with technical difficulty and nothing to do with lack of sleep since I must go to bed early as well. This is exactly how I like it. If playing the piano were simple, then I would never seek improvement. I thrive on challenge and my continued progress has often got me to regret not playing for the 30 years I didn’t. That lost time would have been invaluable to the level of playing I could be now.
I am okay with that however. I know I will never be a concert pianist, and never even toyed with the idea. Nonetheless, I continue to progress and experience such joy being able to actually read music and play a musical instrument. Sometimes practice days are very challenging, however the good practice days far outweigh the frustrating ones. I plan to continue practicing the piano at 3 hours/day/five days a week, but at least for now I don’t think I’ll be increasing my practice time. Never say never.