The piano, and making time to play

My parents recently moved from Indiana to New Jersey. This involved transitioning from a 5-bedroom house to a 3-bedroom apartment, with the corresponding downsizing. My mom offered me the (upright) piano I grew up playing, and I decided to take it. Their movers took it from Indiana to her new garage, and then I found a local company that specializes in moving pianos. Perhaps it was more expensive than just finding three guys and a truck (though the cost seemed reasonable to me) but I liked that they considered my job easy; I asked one of the gentlemen if he’d ever moved a grand piano out of a fifth floor apartment and he said oh yeah, all the time.

In any case, the piano I spent a great many hours practicing on is now sitting in my living room. I inaugurated it with a Bach prelude yesterday, and then some Debussy, Haydn, etc. I enjoy playing the piano, and in my mind, having the piano will now encourage me to make time for playing.

But will it? I have a fairly nice weighted-key electronic keyboard in my office (which is what my kids have been learning to play the piano on). I use the keyboard to practice my choir music, but I generally don’t use it just to play. It’s possible that having a much nicer instrument will change that, but it’s hard to know.

In any case, I’m putting “play piano 20 minutes” on my weekly priority lists for the next few weeks in the hopes of forming a new habit. I should probably specify a specific time window (after lunch?) for practicing too. Habits are tough to form, but not impossible. So we shall see.

Do you play a musical instrument? When do you fit this into your schedule?

In other words: Jasper (my 12-year-old) would like to update everyone on the movie revenue predictions he made for last weekend. Avengers Endgame did indeed pass Avatar to become the top grossing movie of all time. He celebrated by posting a big smily photo of himself on Instagram (private account).

As for last week’s box office takes? Jasper predicted The Lion King would debut at #1 with $200 million in revenue. It wound up taking in approximately $192 million. He predicted Spiderman: Far from Home would be #2 with $22.5 million; it wound up taking in $21 million. He predicted Toy Story 4 would hit $13.37 million; it wound up doing a bit better at $15.55 million. He predicted Crawl would be in the #4 slot with $6 million, and it actually took in about $6.1 million. Finally, he predicted that Aladdin would be in the #5 slot with $5.5 million, but it took in less than that and the film Yesterday wound up at #5, taking in about $5 million. So Jasper gives himself a 4 out of 5 for predictions, though frankly I think one of the studios should hire him as an analyst.



13 thoughts on “The piano, and making time to play

  1. I haven’t done it in a while, but setting a timer for 20 minutes was usually helpful for me with playing the viola. I would often play for a few minutes more, but telling myself it was only 20 minutes spurred me to actually do it. I love your idea of planning when to do it as well–linking it to another activity was also helpful for me, such as right after I got home from work.

  2. I’ve played piano since I was 6, but I find that as an adult, I usually do not make time to play unless there’s something I need to practice for! I played every week at church for 10 years (from 2008-2018), but now that I’m not playing at church, I rarely play.

    And that’s despite having a very lovely piano sitting right in my living room.

    Maybe I should promise my readers a piano video once a month or something…a self-imposed thing to play for. That doesn’t really fit with the themes of my blog, though!

  3. I play one song and sing it, too, each day while my lunch heats in the microwave. A few minutes of joy in the middle of busy days!

  4. Wow, your son is really good at making predictions!! Impressive!

    I bought a piano about 7 years ago when I finally had enough room for one. I honestly do not play it as much as I thought I would or would like to. I have played it more since having our son. When he was less squirmy (< 1 year), he enjoyed sitting on my lap while I played. And I played it more during Christmastime as I love playing Christmas carols. Our piano is in our office so it's kind out of sight, out of mind. We are house hunting and I'm hoping our next house has room for it in the living room area. We'll see! But I'm still glad I bought it because some day our son will take piano lessons so I know it will be put to use. And as someone who grew up with a piano in my house, it's something I want to always have in the house even if it gets played less in different seasons of life!

  5. Hi Laura–your post brought back memories for me. I too had a weighted-key digital piano for many years and used it for practice. I now have one of those shortened keyboards that can sit on my desk when I need it which I use for plinking out my choral part for my choir. I wish I were the kind of person who likes to play the piano just for my own pleasure, but I have to practice religiously to be good enough to play anything, and if I try to play in front of people (as I did for a number of years at a small church) I get so shaky and nervous that I make lots of mistakes and feel terrible. So I gave that up and said, never again. So strange–I love, love, love speaking in front of people–just not playing the piano! I wish you the greatest of success, though, in your desire to play!

  6. As someone trying to create a career out of music, it is one of my primary tasks every day that I spend 3-4 hours on every day. Even then, I find it incredibly difficult to schedule in. It is so much easier to sit at my desk and get absorbed by mindless emails than have to do a physically and mentally draining task like practice!

  7. As a former professional musician who now makes industrial models and prototypes, I recently had my old piano tuned. While I don’t have a regularly scheduled practice period, I do find myself being drawn back since I just dropped some coin to the tuner. I’m getting my chops back. Thus, I am having fun with music again. I see it as self-generated entertainment and therapy away from other stresses in life. Sometimes I’ll sit down at 6AM with a cup of coffee and bang out some blues or jazz. Then you might find me reading through a baroque or classical piece in the evening. It all depends upon when the mood hits and whether I’ve got a few minutes to spare. The goal for me is to keep playing on a daily basis and make it fun. If it makes me smile, I will continue to do it. Life is too short, do have fun while you’re here.

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