If you were going to buy yourself a present, what would it be?
A friend asked the above question on her Facebook page last night.
One of the responses was, “Piano lessons! My parents couldn’t afford a piano or lessons and at 51 … I still want to learn how to play!”
I learned that the lady was financially able to take lessons and had a nice quiet room for a piano yet whenever she found an inexpensive or free piano, she suffered from “cold feet”, as she put it and, “… was afraid to just jump right in!”
Can you relate to this? I definitely can since I started taking piano lessons at the age of 39 after wanting to learn for 20 years.
Don’t Wait For Twenty Years Like I did
When I was 19, my Mom’s friend Cathy who was in her forties purchased a black, baby grand piano and began lessons. I was in awe and vowed to do the same thing. I had never heard of anyone taking lessons “so late” in life. Now that I’m forty-something, I know better. Forty, fifty, or even sixty is not too late to start piano lessons.
In the years that followed, I toyed with the idea of taking lessons. So many thoughts went through my mind.
- What if it takes 20 years to be able to play anything meaningful?
- I’ll be so embarrassed taking lessons as an adult.
- I can’t do it.
- I can’t learn as fast as a child.
- Maybe I’ll just teach myself.
- What if it doesn’t lead to anything? At the time, I never did anything that didn’t lead to some sort of outcome (e.g. a new job, more money, etc).
- I don’t have the time.
When I turned 39, I pushed aside my worries and purchased a used upright piano on Craigslist for $300.00 and began lessons. After a year of lessons and almost daily practice, I proved to myself that I was dedicated enough to upgrade our first piano to what I actually wanted—a baby grand piano.
The year I turned 40, I sold our upright piano (see photo. It is buried under my birthday cards) and our third car so I could purchase a better piano in cash.
After visiting all the major piano retailers in the area, scouring Craigslist and the classifieds for a used grand piano, I finally found her—a 4’9″ Sojin grand piano. She had a few scratches on the left side likely from a previous move; however, I loved the way the piano sounded.
Three years later, I play nearly every day. I have progressed to the point where I can learn an intermediate four-page piece within a couple of weeks.
Perfection Isn’t The Goal
Below is a recent video of me playing Pachelbel. I learned the piece in less than two weeks for a 40-piece-per-year challenge.
I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t “perfect”. It is nowhere close to being ready for a recital, the timing is off just a tad here and there, and my technique needs improving. In this case, perfection isn’t the goal. Playing my best and continuous learning are my goals.
By sharing this video, I hope to show how much progress you can make in four years. This time last year, I couldn’t learn a four-page piece in two weeks. That was unthinkable. With daily practice and dedication, you can make a lot of progress in relatively little time.
If I had not started lessons four years ago (my four-year anniversary was on 9 October 2018), I wouldn’t be able to play anything at all. I would still be wishing that I could play.
Imagine how much progress I could have made if I started when I was 19.
Imagine how much progress you will make if you start now and play for 5, 10, 15+ years.
What is holding you back from taking piano lessons? Or pursuing other dreams?