Hi all. It’s been a little while since I’ve been around. I’ve been busy – adjusting to a cross-country move last fall, plus finishing up my PhD in Plant Biology. And along the way I’ve fallen out of practice with piano. I recently acquired quite a bit more free time, and I’d like to jump back in to piano, but I’m frankly finding it somewhat daunting. So I’m seeking some advice.
For a little background, I’m only ~2.5 years into my jazz piano journey. Still, I feel like I’ve not really accomplished anything near what I’ve wanted to in that amount of time. A large part of it, as I discussed back in this reflection topic on my first year, is I’m just generally poor at forming habits, and my time with the piano comes in fits and starts. I have a hard time focusing on something like practicing an instrument for an extended period of time, as well maintaining a regular practice schedule. In fact, a sort of “meta-goal” for learning the piano for me was learning how to get better at setting up habits for myself. It hasn’t happened yet, but I haven’t given up.
So at the beginning of this year, I was working on left hand voicings. I was comfortably drilling them every day through January and February while also working on some standards. The last standard I was working on was “In A Sentimental Mood.” I also started doing a few transcription exercises. But around late February/early March, I lost the habit, and I haven’t really touched the piano since.
Now I’m wondering how best to hop back on the train, and do it in a way that sticks. I get this urge sometimes in these situations like I should start all the way at the beginning, just to make sure I really know my fundamentals. Maybe more importantly, I wish I could reconnect with the dozen or so standards I’ve learned. I often feel like once I learn a standard, I move on from it, and I can’t remember how to play it soon after. I’m not sure how to prevent that, but maybe it might be a good thing to go back and try to learn them again to see if that helps make them stay in my mind.
I suppose this post is a little vague–I’m not necessarily looking for someone to prescribe me a practice regimen (though I wouldn’t be mad if you did!), but rather for others’ reflections on some of the topics I’ve mentioned here: starting after a long break, practice habit forming tips/tricks, keeping standards in your head once you’ve learned them. As a corollary to all this, I’d like to engage more with this community, so I genuinely appreciate any feedback and dialogue you folks may have.
Anyway, hope you all are doing well, and thanks in advance to anyone who shares their thoughts.