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A top ten (15 and counting) list of Inspirations to Play

1. Give something up and replace the time you spend on this something with your piano. Groucho Marx said "I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book." Only you… go play the piano.

2. If something is worth doing it is worth doing badly! Playing a musical instrument is such a wonderful experience, why limit yourself because you think you will never be great at it?

3. Get a teacher or mentor. Expand your musical perspective by experiencing someone else's. There is no reason you can't have multiple teachers or try out different teachers.

4. Teach or mentor another musician. Showing someone how to do something expands your own understanding.

5. Jam. Find a guitar, trumpet, harmonica, band or choir to play with. Get through the shyness and indecision of the first few times together and experience magic. I think there aren't many things in life more rewarding than becoming "tight" with other musicians.

6. Do something else while you are practicing. I can watch TV or listen to an audio book while I play. It takes a bit of work to get my fingers warmed up so I might as well do something else while doing it. When warmed up, I can concentrate on the music at hand with facile fingers.

7. Prepare for a concert or performance. Nothing gets one to the "woodshed" faster than having a looming performance. Keep in mind that playing is a joyous thing, so don't stress, just spend more time at the piano.

8. Play every day. Even if it is for 10 minutes. Sometimes the 10 minutes will end up as 45 minutes or an hour. If you play every day you'll find that you need less warm-up time.

9. Try different music. All music can be good. Learning different types of music improves your overall musical understanding and helps your "chops".

10. Be light-hearted. Maybe your song selection is just a bit too serious. Not that playing a sad dark piece can't be enchanting but you want to increase your time spent at the instrument. If you associate sadness with playing you might not be tempted to play as often.

11. Time away doesn't hurt. At different points in my life I've not touched the piano for many months / years. When I've come back and have a few days of practice under my belt, I feel as though I've never left it. In fact it almost feels like I've a better feeling or respect or understanding of playing.

12. Age is not a concern. I've met many people that have started playing the piano later in life and play very well.

13. Service your piano more often. Think of the better sound and feel of your piano as a spa for your ears and fingers.

14. Read books and watch movies about music, musicians, musical history, etc.

15. Go out and see performances.

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