Piano Lessons for Beginners – The “X-Factor” of a successful piano student

On Tuesday I was treated to a magnificent concert performed by the Penang Philharmonic Orchestra.

It was held at the Eastern and Oriental Hotel which is to me, the finest hotel in Penang. When you walk its halls and corridors a sense of being transported to another period in time is palpable.

Established in 1885, it is the only high end hotel in Penang that is built in an English colonial architecture style. All hotels in Penang have the luxuries and opulence a guest would expect, but none has the heritage and nostalgia the E & O Hotel has preserved for over a hundred years.

In a most appropriate classical setting such as this, the Penang Philharmonic Orchestra set out to bedazzle the audience with classical masterpieces such as ‘Peer Gynt Suite No.1 op.46’ by Edvark Grieg and ‘Symphony No.6 in D major op.60’ by Antonin Dvorak.

They exceeded all expectations, the rendering of the harmonies and expression of the music by members of the orchestra was an awe inspiring spectacle.

Made more so by the spellbinding presence of the beautiful Elizabeth Tan, playing the cello. Whom the orchestra accompanied while she coaxed out the most tender sounds of Franz Joseph Haydn’s ‘Cello Concerto No.1 in C major’ with her bow.

I noticed 2 things that made them great. They had passion and determined perseverence. It occurred to me that a student who is taking piano lessons for beginners should emulate these traits that made the orchestra members play their instruments so well.

The ‘X-Factors’ that make a piano student successful.

Piano Lessons for Beginners - Success X-Factor #1: Have Passion

Learning the piano is a process. Progress depends solely on the piano student herself. Technical skills that involve mastering chords, octaves, scales and arpeggios will have to be acquired. To gain competency playing such challenging phrases requires hundreds of hours of practise.

It is indeed a laborious process. However, for the passionate student it does not feel like labour, but a frolic.

Sometimes students will encounter obstacles with technique or outside distractions like work and family commitments may also tempt them to veer off course - only those with passion will be able adjust themselves to clear these hurdles and prevail to become a successful piano student.

Piano Lessons for Beginners - Success X-Factor #2: Determined Perseverence

When I first started piano lessons I could not curve my fingers. If I tried to hit a key using the pinkie all of the other fingers would open up too and my whole hand would stiffen. It looked like I was waving my hand at someone.

But I understood that it was all part of the process. I knew that I would have to spend the necessary years in acquiring the right technique.

Looking back on those years, I see it as the most gratifying adventure I had ever been on. After my most recent session with my teacher, she said “You will be starting Grade 5 lessons next week, the fees will go up, it is quiet expensive”.

I smiled and nodded in response, but frankly I wanted to say, “You can triple the fees for all I care, this thing is priceless!”

The point is that piano music is an art, and no art can be beautiful without some determination and perseverence by its artist.

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