Guestblogger Celine Gaurier-Joubert is the founder of the Institut de Musique de Paris and has a wealth of experience teaching adults to play the piano. During her career, she has met hundreds of enthusiastic students who, just after a couple of months of lessons, have given up on their dream to play the piano. In this blog, Celine reveals why so many adults give up and why it’s far better to just keep at it!

Why Adults Give Up Playing the Piano Far Too Soon

The Dream

As both a pianist and piano teacher, I’ve encountered many beginners who have told me how much they would love to be able to play the piano. Some had never played a piano before, while others had taken lessons as children and wanted to pick up where they left off. Every one of them started with the best of intentions and were extremely motivated: ready to climb the highest peaks and dive into the deepest depths. They shared a dream of ‘maybe one day’ being able to play the most complex pieces of the piano repertoire, or gaining the ability to improvise with the flair of Bill Evans or Keith Jarrett. Don’t get me wrong, I love meeting people with a passion for the piano and sharing my passion with them, but unfortunately, very few of those people still actually sit down at their piano to play…

Back to Reality

Between the dream and reality lies quite a wide gap. Unlike children, adults tend to forget that, like any other skill, playing the piano takes a lot of study to master. They often don’t truly understand what’s needed to become a good pianist. Of course, they understand that it costs masses of time and effort to become a concert pianist, but they think that more simple pieces can be learned in a day, which is kind of strange if you consider that everyone knows how much time, daily study and practice it takes to learn a new language. But, when it comes to playing the piano, many people suddenly have a completely different view, so from the very beginning, there’s a big misconception to overcome. As a result, many adults just don’t have the right attitude when they start learning to play. Because their expectations are so high, they set themselves up for crushing disappointment.

Adults Set Themselves Up for Disappointment

The biggest reason that adults give up learning to play the piano is disappointment – they start with the view that it will be easy and think that just a couple of weeks or months of learning will be enough. As I’ve already said, everyone starts off full of enthusiasm. Students are initially eager to practise between lessons; there are no major problems; teacher and student are both satisfied and the student arrives and leaves with a positive attitude. Every week, there is progress to reinforce hope, but all too soon, frustrations and questions start to rear their head… and the mood shifts.

“It’s harder than I thought. Why am I not learning faster? How long is this going to take?”

As soon as their progression is less obvious and there’s no immediate reward for the student, their resolve starts to wane, and the frequency and structure of their study starts to dwindle. From that moment, everything gets worse. Even the most motivated students who were totally dedicated in the beginning start to miss lessons and spend less time doing their homework. This pattern only deepens the disappointment to the point that it outweighs that burning enthusiasm that they first started with, and slowly but surely, the dream fades.

Don’t Give Up! Keep Going, and You Will Be Rewarded

It breaks my heart every time I see students give up just because they’re not in the mood to carry on, when I can see that they’re doing so well. They could have gone far and realised their dream, but instead, they’ve chosen to lean on excuses to stop. Playing the piano is such a joyful thing that gives so many people so much pleasure, but as with any achievement, none of it is possible without persistence, discipline and dedication. So they can really enjoy learning to play the piano, adults need to shift their perspective and view it as a lifelong process instead of a little job that they can quickly tick off a list. Even the most accomplished pianists have to spend their entire lives studying, so why should anyone else be any different? Of course, there will always be plenty of challenges and set-backs, but by accepting them and refusing to throw in the towel, you’ll be immediately rewarded.

The Right Attitude

I encourage any adult who dreams of playing the piano to start straight away. Armed with the right attitude, playing the piano will, without a shadow of a doubt, become one of the things you love doing most. It’s not just a fun skill to have but an incredible way to express yourself and develop your artistic sense.

I founded the Institut de Musique de Paris with amateur pianists in mind because I have such great admiration for them. I wanted to offer adults a platform they could use to learn in a free and accepting environment. If you live in Paris, then you are more than welcome to join and take lessons in our comfortable studio. And if not, then we can offer you lessons via Zoom, Skype, or Facetime. If you’d like more information, see our website.

See also…

» Digital Pianos
» Piano Books
» All Keyboard Instruments & Accessories

» Can You Connect a Keyboard or Digital Piano up to a Smartphone or Tablet?
» Musician-Related Injuries: 8 Ways to Avoid Them
» Classical Piano Music for Beginners: 6 Well-Known Compositions
» Acoustic or Digital Piano? Which One Should You Go For?
» Playing the Piano: Correct Posture & Hand Position
» The Three Piano Pedals: What Are They For?
» How to play basic piano chords
» What’s the difference between a keyboard and a digital piano?

Guestblogger Celine Gaurier-Joubert (Institut de Musique de Paris)
Celine Gaurier-Joubert is the founder of the Institut de Musique de Paris and of various music academies for adults all over the world. After completing her studies as a pianist in Paris and Switzerland she took part in numerous concerts and competed internationally. Celine then chose to dedicate her life to amateur pianists by giving them the opportunity to learn in an accepting environment that’s fully attuned to their personal needs.
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