Help, I’m Not Improving Anymore!

Have you hit a point in practicing where it feels like you aren’t getting any better with your piano skills anymore? Every pianist hits plateaus sometimes, no matter what level they are at. Thankfully there are some techniques that can help to get you ‘un-stuck’ and inspired to keep learning.

Technique 1: You’re Stuck on a Specific Piece

There is nothing more frustrating than working on the same piece day after day, week after week, without seeing any improvement at all. If this is your situation, the first thing to remember is that just because you don’t feel like you are getting better doesn’t mean that you aren’t actually making progress! Figuring out the correct fingering and timing can take a very long time, and it doesn’t always make an immediate difference in how good the piece sounds. Be patient with yourself! 

If you are really feeling stuck, however, try playing the song in a refreshing way to change the way that you look at the piece. For instance you could work on the song one bar at a time, starting at the end of the piece and working forwards! You could also try to play the song with a variety of different expressions instead of the dynamics and feeling that you normally play it with. 

Technique 2: If You’re Stuck In Lessons

If you feel like you aren’t learning anything at your piano lessons your first step should be to talk to your piano teacher! Her primary goal is for you to learn, and if you don’t feel like your lessons are helping you to learn you can work together as a team to make them a better fit. If you would like more help with your expression and less help with your scales or if you’d like to know more about different music styles and focus less on a strict curriculum you need to let your teacher know! Piano lessons should be inspiring you to improve, not making you feel like you aren’t moving anywhere. As a last resort you may need to consider finding a different teacher, but try to work together to fix things with the teacher you have first! 

Technique 3: If You Don’t Have Any Motivation in General

If your loss of motivation doesn’t have anything to do with a specific piece, and you’re happy with your lessons you might need to spend some time getting re-inspired before you will begin to improve again. Take some time to set specific goals about the areas you want to improve in over the next year of lessons. These goals might have to do with the level of the pieces you want to be playing after a year, the technique you hope to learn, or your expressive skills. Set yourself a goal that you can measure easily (e.g. “I want to learn seven new scales and arpeggios and be able to sight-read songs at a Grade 3 level easily”), and then set sub-goals. Sometimes you feel as though you aren’t improving, but that’s just because you’ve lost sight of the skills that you are working on. By setting these concrete goals you will be able to watch yourself improve over the next year, guaranteed! 

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