Setting Effective Goals for Piano Lessons

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You’ve been thinking about taking piano lessons for awhile or you’ve been away from the piano for awhile and want a refresher. Maybe your family relocated or your piano teacher retired, got married, or changed to a different career. Whatever happened, you’re ready for that first lesson, and you’re ready to set some goals.

So what is a goal?

One person might want to learn to play a favorite song on the piano by the end of summer by practicing for ½ hour a day on a family keyboard because he likes the song and wants to play it for his friends when school starts.

Another person intensely desires mastering both classical and popular music on the piano by practicing from one to four hours a day, five days a week on a grand piano in her living room or on a studio piano, over a period of fifteen years because she is from a musical family and wants to make playing piano her career for life.

Finally, we have the average piano student who just wants to learn how to play.

With such a vast range of options, setting a goal for piano lessons can seem challenging. Fortunately, even if you haven’t had much success with goal-setting in the past, piano lessons are a great way to learn how! The right goals are S-M-A-R-T:

S is for Specific: What kind of piano music would you like to learn? Do you prefer popular songs from the internet or the radio? Do you like instrumental piano music, like classical, relaxation or new age? Are you curious about all the details, with a burning desire to learn all about music theory? If you’re a parent, what are your expectations? Do you and your child share the same tastes in music?

M is for Measurable: When you expect to achieve your goal? Are music lessons a long-term investment, or are you just trying things out? Do you value an impressive goal enough to put months, or even years, to achieve it? Would you prefer simpler, shorter, mini-goals that can be achieved each week?

A is for Attainable:  Is there a piano or keyboard available for practice in your home? Is there time in your schedule to practice regularly? Are you new to piano, have you been playing for a few years, or is your musical experience on a different instrument? Sharing your ideas for goals with your piano teacher is a great way to open the conversation, and work together on creating goals that you can achieve.

R is for Rewarding: Why do you want to play piano? Is it that you’ve always loved the sound of the instrument, that your living room piano is collecting dust? What’s in it for you?

T is for Trackable: How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal? Back in the day, the only way to track a budding pianist’s performance was at an annual recital. Fortunately, those days are fading into a dim memory, and practically anyone can record and upload a video with the chance to become a global phenomenon.

Okay, we’ve covered all the letters for S-M-A-R-T. Once you get used to using this acronym, you can use it to help you set goals for practically anything you want to achieve in life, including setting the right kind of goals for piano lessons!