Life is about connecting with others, through something deeper and more meaningful, to touch others’ lives.
Music can do just that, and more. Through teaching, learning, playing, listening, performing, we connect with others – teachers, parents, students, fellow students, friends, public – through music learning and piano playing.
Therefore, piano lessons are not just a routine we go in week in and week out. They are many sessions of precious moments for us to share, explore and enjoy via the wonderful tool we call, “piano”.
Adult Piano Beginner Learners
This year we have quite a number of adult students who have come in to learn to play the piano for the first time. I am very glad to see this phenomenon.
I still remember we had this amazing student who came in last year, and the first line of his email wrote, “I am a 51-year-old man who has never learnt to play the piano…”. My eyes beamed with joy when I read that line. I couldn’t be happier! Someone at this mature age wanted to play the piano! Why would that be a problem?
Any age is a good age to learn something new. Any age is a good age to challenge oneself and do something fresh for the first time. Any age is a good age to be nice to oneself and give oneself a Gift.
I believe Music is such a Joy for anyone of any age, and playing the piano is a great gift to receive that joy.
I understand the “awkwardness” for adults to pick up an instrument (or simply learn some new skills) for the first time:
“Can I actually do it?”
“What if I can’t? Would I look stupid or embarrass myself?”
“Am I too old to do it?”
“It’s okay, I don’t really have to do this. Why bother, why waste time and money to do it?”
The list of doubt goes on and on.
I get it. I have that moment too.
Like I couldn’t swim or bike for most of my life – I learnt to do that just a few years ago. I am not good at it, but I can move! And I enjoy them.
Or I remember the first time I saw people run on campus when I was studying for my graduate degree in America. I thought to myself, “Oh! People RUN here.” I never exercised when I was in Hong Kong, almost never. No one told me I had to exercise! I only knew I had to study and practice a lot of piano. So I started running on campus too, and went to the gym and took cycling classes and did circuit weight training. I didn’t know how to do it but I just followed the instructions and that’s it! It was a lot of fun and so I never stopped exercising ever since.
Or I love traveling on my own, a lot. People say, “Oh but it’s dangerous (for a woman) to travel solo” or, “Oh but it’s so boring to travel alone”. I never feel any danger at all. A woman can protect herself just like a man does. And when you travel alone, you can talk with the locals and meet new friends. It’s a lot of fun and a different kind of traveling experience. When you travel alone, you would notice a lot of things you might not otherwise.
Or I never wrote a book. And now I did. I am happy that I finally published it, now I can make it better for the second edition, and work on the Chinese version. And also the course books. I never thought I wanted to or could write an instruction manual (it sounds so boring!). But I did, and I am glad I endured the boredom at the beginning of drafting it.
What I am trying to say is there are a lot of things we thought we didn’t want to do and tried to make a lot of excuses not to of them, and the main reason is most likely this:
We are scared.
We are scared to fail.
We are scared to make mistakes.
We are scared to be ridiculed.
But, what if we make it?
What if we succeed?
What if we are actually good at it?
Or what if, what if we actually enjoy doing it, regardless of how good or bad we are at it?
Isn’t that the most important point of we doing something, that WE ENJOY DOING THE THING WE DO?
Yes, that’s the whole point of we learning to play the piano.
Because PLAYING THE PIANO IS FUN.
So, Adult Piano Beginner Learners, keep coming! We are ready!
To fellow piano teachers, who truly care about their students, their growth musically and personally, who put their absolute hearts and souls into their teaching and building their own studios, I salute to you all. I know sometimes it’s hard, very hard, in this world most care about only profits and themselves, who focus on the short term reward and gain rather the long term devotion and contribution.
Most people don’t realize that, in the long run of continuous effort and pursuit, there are already lots of reward and success along the way.
I’d like to thank those – teachers, students, parents, friends, fellow teachers – who have contributed to my growth, my gain, my pain, my suffering, my sorrow, my joy, my arrogance, my humility, and my achievement in my learning and my career all these years. Without all the opposite (or complementary?) elements, I am not the person I am today. So I thank you for my failure and my success. I thank you for trying to beat me down so that I can come back up again. I thank you for encouraging me to continue my journey so that I can take a look at what I have and what I want. At the end of the day, it’s all up to me to decide whether to lose or to win, whether to stop or continue, and whether this is worth it. And that goes to you as well, my dear friend.
You all have a great weekend, and hope to see some of you on Sunday in our concert!