I have a confession to make.
I used to work at Applebee’s.
Man, it feels so good to say it out loud.
Anyhoo, it was actually a pretty fun job. I made a lot of friends there and learned a lot about people.
I learned a very valuable lesson while working there too. It is actually the answer to one of our most Frequently Asked Questions about the piano and piano lessons.
FAQ #2: When Am I Done Taking Piano Lessons?
This is a short story about one of my Applebuddy’s. I honestly don’t remember her name so let’s call her Sarah.
Sarah had just started working at Applebees and she had to spend a little time with me while she was being trained. At first, we totally hit it off because we both played the piano.
You know how it goes at a job where you don’t know anybody. You try to find anything in common so that you have something to chat about to make the time go faster. Sarah and I were chatting about playing the piano that day. And I asked her if she still played. This was her response,
“No, I don’t play anymore. It got to the point where I could play everything so I was done.”
That response floored me. For so many reasons. Done? A real musician would never be “done.” There is always so much more to learn. There is always another level to get to. Even the most incredible piano players in the world are still learning new things. They would never say they were “done.”
No real musician would say they could play everything. What does that even mean? Can you play every Rachmaninoff piece to perfection? Do you know how to play every jazz standard ever written? Do you know how to play all of the harmonic modes and use them in a solo improvisation?
Of course, she didn’t. She got done with her first-year method book and got bored. She gave up and quit. And then told herself she “knew everything” to make herself feel better about quitting.
Either that or she really doesn’t get it. I’m guessing it’s a little of both.
My point is that if you want to be a real musician, you need to buckle in for the ride. It is a lifelong journey that never ends. You never get “done.” You never know everything. Every time you sit down at the piano, it’s a chance to learn something new.
That is the magic of music. It is never-ending. Sure there are milestones along the way that you want to celebrate like learning a big piece or being able to play a song from memory. But if you truly have the heart of a musician, you will never want to stop learning and growing. You won’t be able to because once you start you are hooked.
Is that you? Do you dream about learning the next song or getting better at some run or lick? BTW, It’s ok if that’s not you. You can be a casual music lover and still really enjoy playing the piano.
But if you’re like me, and you have the fire within you, I’m here to tell you that you can be the player you dream of being. Matter of fact, you will be, if you never quit, and embrace the lifelong journey that is being a musician. It’s quite a ride.
Just remember what you signed up for when you get into a new song and it’s harder than you want it to be. Remember why you started this in the first place. You are capable of amazing things including playing this new song that has you stuck. Take a deep breath and dive in.
Most people quit right before they get to the good part. The good part is coming on the next page and you are going to get there because you don’t quit.
I would much rather be one of the few piano players who can’t “play everything” than one of the many who decided they were “done.” I hope you will join me.