Be kind to yourself

 

Playing music should be relaxing and make you feel good, but sometimes it ends up being frustrating and stressful. If you've been trying to play one bar for 20 minutes and it's turned out wrong every time, you start thinking you're incompetent and doubting yourself.

 

If the piano is making you feel bad, it's time to stop, take a step back, breathe, and remember to be kind to yourself.

 

Learning anything new has its challenges - there are always moments when you feel like you've hit a wall and you'll never be able to play piano as well as the others in your class.

Usually these moments happen when you haven't practised for a while and you find you've forgotten a song you were good at, or when you're playing something for the first time and it doesn't make any sense.

 

The core reason PianoEasy exists is so people can play piano and feel good - if you feel bad about your playing that defeats the purpose. So how can you be kind to yourself and enjoy the piano even when everything seems to be turning out wrong?

 

The first thing is to expect to feel frustrated sometimes. Marilyn from my class encourages everyone by saying that when you feel utterly lost and confused it's because you've almost got it. It's reassuring to remember that the awful feeling of "not getting" something is actually useful and constructive.

 

Another vital skill is to stop comparing yourself to other people. If you like, compare yourself now to yourself when you started learning music. There's no denying that you have learned and you have improved, so you'll probably continue to learn and improve. Your music doesn't sound like anyone else's - there will always be people who can play prettier melodies or more complicated rhythms, but you have your own unique sound that no-one else can create and that in itself is valuable.

 

The last part is to remember that music exists to be enjoyed; if playing Raindrops is what you enjoy, go ahead and play it. You have the rest of your life to be a perfect pianist, but right now you have the opportunity to enjoy the beginning of the learning process where you still have lots you don't know.

 

Even if you're not as good as you want to be, you're good enough. Keep playing and keep being kind and patient with yourself.

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