"It's just a hobby, it's not important." Many people think that playing an instrument as a hobby is not an essential part of their life, just a pastime that is a little relaxation after work and family, if there is time left for it. They think that they don't need to pick up the instrument or sit down at the piano regularly, because that's not what they make a living from, that's the job of the professionals. They approach this activity in the way that it's good to have it, but it's okay to not have it.
If you have ever learned to play an instrument and reached a relatively high level, it is conceivable that you can enjoy playing with little investment. On the other hand, those who are learning just now, or would rather learn or develop further, certainly do not see yet how will be listenable what they play. If you treat it like many others do, that it's just a side activity and you don't put enough time and energy into it, but only do it a little when you "have time" and don't do it at all when you "don't have time", you will never experience what you can do on your instrument. Even if the teacher gives the best of their knowledge, the student, no matter how much talent they have, cannot achieve any visible results without commitment.
We have already seen in countless cases that playing the piano was completely pushed into the background, when the adult who wanted to learn, but was not committed, got more work permanently, or when the family just expanded. The result was the same in all similar cases: the motivation waned, the desire to learn disappeared, the excuses multiplied, and the instrument, perhaps the newly purchased piano has been gathering dust in the living room ever since.
The reason they don't touch the instrument is because, after learning a bit, they feel that it won't sound the way they want to hear, and they want to avoid the frustration that comes with it. They surrender to the fear of frustration and bury their previously motivating desire rather than putting the work in and developing that desire. They are also afraid that they would not be able to put in as much work as would be necessary for an enjoyable playing, or more precisely, they are afraid that they would have to take the energy to devote to it away from their work and family. In fact, this is how they take this time away from themselyes, sacrificing their own self-time, development, and recharge. Is this how the story really has to end?
Those who stop playing an instrument because they feel that the time required is disproportionate compared to the return, have already realized half the truth. The technical and musical development required for an enjoyable playing cannot be achieved without a regular investment of time and energy. However, they did not find out the other side of the truth. And this is that they have to work on themselves in order to achieve the goal. Without changing the priorities, the order of importance, the daily routine, staying within the comfort zone, you will not break through the ceiling.
There will only be results if we consider our hobby as a part of our life in the same way as work and family. One and one only become two if both sides participate in the equation, both the teacher and the student give their best. Sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zone to find a place for a new hobby in our schedule, but once we have included it, after a while it becomes a routine, and we feel that it would be painful if it disappeared from our lives. It is not easy to raise your motivation to such a high level by yourself, so you need a mentor who will not let you slack off, who will remind you of your set goals.
If you have the right attitude, you will feel the progress. Not only in a professional sense, but also in personal development. There will be no excuses such as "I live far away", "I have to bathe the child now", "I have to work overtime now", "I have to finish a language course quickly". Instead, you will have daily, or almost daily practice, and you will have more and more difficult and complex, and at the same time more exciting pieces of music under your control.
What a sense of proudness you will feel when you share the fruits of your labor with your family, or even with your colleagues! What a great experience it will be to invite them to a student recital! How differently they will look at you if they feel that you did not take their time, but you gave them something important that they could not have received from anyone else, not even from you, if you did not incorporate your hobby into your life.
What do you need to do to make playing the piano really your hobby?
- Find time in your schedule for it! Any new activity can only become a part of your life if you dedicate time to it. Preferably not at the very end of the day, when you've already done everything else, because then you're already tired and can't pay enough attention to any activities. It should be a time when you are alert, when you feel that you can receive new impulses. This can be in the morning, before work, or in the afternoon, right after work. If necessary, delete some other, less important activities from your schedule for this goal.
- Find a teacher! You need someone to guide you on the road, for several reasons. From a professional point of view, it's because a competent outside observer has incomparably more experience and will draw your attention to things that you would not noticed on your own or noticing them would take too much time. And from a psychological point of view, it's because it is very difficult to maintain motivation alone at a level that will take you forward permanently.
- Find challenges! If you don't have a specific goal, motivation runs out, practiing slacks, and your progress stops easily. That's why you definitely need events that won't let you stop. These can be student recitals, where you give an account of your knowledge every year, or even better, every semester. There may be exams that serve as milestones to indicate where you are along the way. And there can also be competitions, if you already feel at a level to take on a bigger challenge. In Hungary, it is quite rare to have a teacher in private education who cares about this side as well. That's why you should choose carefully, look for a teacher who can provide you with this as well.
Your teacher will also enjoy dealing with you much more if you approach your hobby this way, and how much more proud they will be that you achieve good results as their student. What a shared success!
Before you start learning an instrument, or if you haven't done it before, now think about what this activity means to you, how important part of your life it is. Take the example of two of our great students, who managed to keep the place of music in their lives despite many difficulties.
One of them deals with the development of learning methods, so she also knows well what makes a student successful during their studies. Even as a child, she had a big dream to study music, but she didn't have the opportunity to do so. After graduating from medical university, she started playing the piano as an adult, without any background. She likes to proceed with small yet considered steps, carefully preparing for each exam. In addition to the class experiences, these feedbacks help her maintain her motivation and give her power to continue. She is so enthusiastic that she even takes a small tripod with her on her travels so that she can connect via video call for an online class.
The other one is a university student who is a maximalist in terms of his studies and work. At the same time, he feels the need to develop his artistic side as well, and he found this in playing the piano. He lives 90 km from Budapest, works in the family business in addition to his studies, but still makes time for regular practising and attending classes. He likes to progress on a larger scale, but he likes to delve deeper into individual pieces of music. He also expects the maximum from himself in music exams, and his family is very proud of him after each successful exam.
If you feel that playing an instrument is important to you, treat it and devote time and energy to it accordingly. Find a teacher, a mentor who not only teaches the profession, but also understands the psychological background and helps you to commit. The one who persuades you to include exercise in your daily or weekly routine. The one who gives you tasks and sets expectations that help you maintain your motivation. The one who pushes you out of your comfort zone and makes the decision with you to play in front of others and take part in student recitals. The one who brings you to the point that "It's my hobby, so it's important because it's about me."