7 Things I learned by taking a Piano class at the Age of 28
Science has shown that learning a new skill can create new connections and new neurons in our brains. It also helps in generating Dopamine (the happy hormone). Even if we keep all the Science away, learning something new is fun!
Last year, I decided to enroll for Piano classes. I had no prior experience, nor was this a childhood dream of mine. It was completely an arbitrary decision.
What started as a means to get out of the everyday boredom of corporate job and life taught me many lessons along the way.
Here are a few things I learned by taking a Piano class at the age of 28:
1. It’s never too late to learn a new skill
When I started attending the in-person classes (Pre-Corona times), I was usually surrounded by parents (some of them my age) waiting for their kids to finish their lessons. The parents were shocked to see that my partner and I were also students at the same academy.
Although my partner and I always seemed like the oddball among kids, it felt great attending these lessons!
We would pack our notebooks and pens and wait for our respective classes to begin, and look at each other and smile. There was a sense of excitement to learn something new.
Ten months later, I am still continuing the classes (although online) and loving it!
Taking up this class encouraged me to believe that it was never too late to learn a new skill.
I can’t wait to venture into more diverse art forms.
Whenever my teacher gave me a challenging homework, I would get frustrated because it took so much time to learn.
Looking at my frustration, he would say, “If it isn’t working, slow down as much as you can and then try again.” As soon as I changed my tempo from 120 to 40, I immediately understood the music.
I have tried to apply the same logic in other parts of my life. Whenever I face challenging projects, I slow down or break the problem into smaller tiny pieces and try again.
3. Consistency and Discipline
There were days when I tried to avoid going to the class. It was mostly because I hadn’t finished my homework or just wanted to skip it for no apparent reason. I would feel tempted to reschedule.
That’s when I specifically told myself to keep going. The day I started taking the classes, I promised myself one thing.
I would never cancel a class because of my inner procrastination.
No matter how much I blew up that day’s class, all I had to do was show up.
Just show up and do the best you can with the best you have that day.
And no matter how horrible I expected the class to go, it always went better!!
Consistency and Discipline are the most annoying (and underrated) skills that we must strive to have.
4. It’s okay to take a break
I know, I know. This is precisely the opposite of what I mentioned in my previous point.
How can you be consistent and still take a break?
As adults, we face a lot of shit in our lives: late-night office projects, general home responsibilities, taxes, plumbing issues, and whatnot.
My teacher knew and understood this fact.
He used to teach kids the entire day, and finally, during my class, he would say, “It sucks being an adult.” That’s why, he gave me the freedom to take up as much time to learn a new song or even avoid showing up at times. He would often say, “Don’t worry about missing classes. Just do whatever makes you feel less stressed. We play the Piano to relieve stress not to create more of it”.
Therefore, whenever life was “too much to handle,” I unapologetically pressed the cancel button.
5. It’s okay to Quit
This pertains more towards my partner’s story than mine. We started going to our classes at the same time. He joined Ukulele, and I joined Piano. I was having fun learning new things, but my partner wasn’t feeling motivated.
He would miss homework and never practice. That’s when he decided to quit.
Instead of Ukulele, he decided to join a Music class. I could see that he absolutely loved it. He would re-arrange his schedules to find the time to practice. He would research more about the different songs he could learn, and never missed a lesson.
We are often told “Never to quit” so much so that we stick to hobbies/work/relationships that we don’t really enjoy. We should learn to strike a balance between “quitting too soon” and “quitting too late.”
6. Imperfection is just Perfect
Whenever I played some new music, my teacher noticed a few mistakes but never discouraged me.
He would say, “You played beautifully for a first-timer, but how about we walk through the Rythm in the second measure.” At times, he would also recommend me to continue playing that extra note that wasn’t in the book because it “sounded better.”
Whatever we create is an art, and it’s always going to be just fine. Yes, we should learn and try to improve as much as we can, but Imperfection is the only perfection that I strive to achieve in order to create something entirely new and different.
7.Practice, practice, practice
Practice makes a person perfect.
We have heard this phrase a million times, but we rarely apply it to our daily lives. We make a few mistakes and immediately decide to give up.
Especially with today’s disease of “Instant gratification,” all we care about is what others perceive about our everyday lives.
Practice is a significant part of learning a skill. I have had to play the same song almost 20 times to get it right. Yes, it takes time, but the lessons we learn through the process is truly amazing.
Creativity always hides in the path between “knowing nothing” to “knowing a lot.”
At the end of the day, playing the Piano is just a hobby for me but my love and respect towards the art has increased ten folds especially because of the byproducts of the learning process.