Learning is a marathon

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I talk to adults quite often who tell me they would love to learn to play better. I always ask them what is stopping them.

The main excuse I hear is a lack of time. I have to admit I find that excuse very weak in most situations. There may be a few people who legitimately have every moment of every day filled with things that cannot be ignored. However, I have never met such a person and I doubt that I ever will. Everyone has discretionary time. They often spend it on the phone or on Facebook or by watching TV.

So, if you want to learn how to play better, get honest with yourself and quit using the excuse about not having time.

Here is the truth. You do not need to practice hours a day to get better. You just need to practice 20 or 30 minutes and do it every day.  Learning is a marathon, not a sprint. I would far rather see someone practice 30 minutes almost every day rather than practicing five hours a day every once in a while.

Our culture’s obsession with instant gratification has seeped into the way we view learning. If you want to get very good at something, is it realistic that it can happen in a week with a few cram sessions? Of course not. It takes consistent hard work spread out over a long period of time.

There are things I am working on right now on the piano that I cannot expect to be doing well for at least three years. That is the reality of learning and something I have to accept. So, I practice a consistent amount of time every day and walk away knowing that I still am not any good but am one step closer.

If you don’t think you can invest thirty minutes a day, invest fifteen or even five quality minutes. But view your learning process as a marathon where consistent effort will eventually pay off.