So many of us learned piano at some early stages of our lives. At a certain point in our lives, we stopped playing for a variety of reasons. As adults we see people playing, we join community groups, we go to concerts and all the feelings of regret begin. The thought is ” Why did we ever stop?” or “How could we start playing again?”. The answers can be found in considering even more detailed questions:
Where should you start ?
The first thing to decide is what type of music, and how you want to play:
- Is it music for your church?
- Is it pop songs from a book or music sheet?
- Is it jazz piano?
- Is it country music?
- Is it classical favourites?
- Do you want to sing and accompany yourself?
- Do you want to play for friends and family?
- Do you want to play by ear?
What music do you love?
If you played for all your life, and advanced to the highest degree in music, and cannot play songs that you love, you will become frustrated. This is a question you must answer. It might not have only one answer, and your interests may change over time, but it will chart you in the direction you should go.
How will you learn or revise?
Most likely you studied music with a tutor in a one-on-one situation as a child. Your parents made arrangements with a tutor and took you to lessons regularly. In addition, your parents sent you to the piano, at home, to practise. Maybe you sat music examinations to qualify you for higher and higher levels. There was a program that kept you doing those lessons.
Now that you are an adult, you might enrol in a music program, but what will keep you accountable and faithful to practising? What will motivate you to stick to the program?
After a while you begin to show improvement. What then?
In order to maintain your skills and enjoy your hobby, you will need to find an outlet for performance. You can:
- join a community choir, and learn to play the music in the repertoire
- learn worship songs and help to rehearse the singing groups at church
- learn ‘easy listening’ music and play at a piano bar at least once per week
- join a band as a keyboard player
- work in studio sessions preparing music tracks
What if you are not interested in working public performance ?
You might want to play but you are not interested in playing in a formal regulated program. You could choose find a group to work with and meet every Friday, say, and play songs you love, and probably perform at some charity event or Christmas in the park. Preparing for some event would give the group some kind of focus.
You could collaborate with someone who is involved in songwriting, providing accompaniment and helpiing them work out the arrangements and harmony.
You could also get invoved in composing instrumentals using music software. Hearing the end results can be quite exciting and might motivate you improve in music arranging.
What is the biggest action to maintain and improve your piano skills?
One word: PRACTICE. Very few people can get up each day and practice between lessons going on over a year, two years and longer. Those suggestions above serve to keep you motivated and keep you practising. Although you ‘play’ an instrument, playing well requires ‘work’.
I have been playing piano for several years. I started while going to school, and have always been involved as an accompanist with singing groups. In my twenties I became fascinated with the sound of jazz and enrolled in a jazz studies program. I still love jazz piano, and still lead a band that performs gigs. It is the involvement and the learning of new forms that have kept me playing over the years. So when you decide to start playing again, make sure to go through the list and make a complete plan. You might find yourself playing forever and loving it.
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