We have hosted several month-long Pledge To Play: 10 Minutes A Day challenges.
If you joined us, what I hope you will take with you is the habit of getting yourself to piano daily or a set number of days per week (i.e. every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 8:30 pm etc.), even if it’s only for a few minutes. Making it a habit to sit at the keys for minutes daily, practicing an exercise or working on a tricky musical passage can make a tremendous difference in your playing over time. We know that the brain remembers best that which it is exposed to daily, so if you are playing regularly, you are making the most of your brain power.
I have heard that when asked what is the secret to a happy, fulfilled life, The Dalai Lama replied, “Routines.” A routine or habit is something we do regularly, such as brushing our teeth or getting dressed in the morning. Routines might sound boring, but actually they are relaxing and can lead to creativity. Beethoven was known to count out exactly 60 coffee beans for his cup every morning before his morning walk to get his creative juices flowing. A leading psychologist of the late 19th century, William James said,
Don’t consider afresh each morning whether to work on your novel for 45 minutes before the day begins; once you’ve resolved that that’s just what you do, it’ll be far more likely to happen.
When people are ill, they often talk about wishing to return to their simple daily routines. The gifts of the normal, healthy day, are many. If you are able to tuck a little piano practice into your daily routine, you will no doubt progress faster than if you play just once per week; Daily piano playing leads to more freedom of expression and beauty.
There are many demands on our time. Besides practicing the piano we are supposed to meditate, exercise, cook healthy meals, clean ourselves and our homes, answer phone calls and emails and be social! But if we are efficient with our time and make a few priorities part of our daily routine, we can get to everything. I hope that you will make practicing the piano a priority and a joyful routine.
With love and music, Gaili