Effective Practice and Motivation

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Below are some of the many different aspects involved in learning how to practice the piano effectively.

Environment | Goals  | Musical Form | Rhythm | Fingering | Posture & Tension | Method | Memory | Pedal | Motivation

Here are some of my favorite quotes!

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
Albert Einstein (1879–1955), Theoretical Physicist

"Education is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire."
William B. Yeats (1865-1939) Irish Poet and Dramatist

"Really great people make you feel that you, too, can be great."
Mark Twain (1835-1910), American Author and Humorist

“It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.”
Babe Ruth, (1895–1948), American Major League baseball player

"Your worth consists in what you are and not in what you have."
Thomas Edison (1847-1931), American Inventor and Entrepreneur

"Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead."
Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), American author

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."
Plato (428 BC-347 BC) Greek Philosopher

"If you keep knocking, the door has to open."
Native American proverb

"The flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today."
Chinese Proverb

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started."
Mark Twain (1835-1910), American Author and Humorist

"The difference in winning and losing is most often...not quitting."
Walt Disney (1901-1966) American Film Producer, Director, Screenwriter, Entrepreneur...

"Long-range goals keep you from being frustrated by short-term failures."
James Cash (J.C.) Penney, (1875-1971), American Businessman

"Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity."
Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), French Physician, Chemist and Microbiologist

“In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, (1803 –1882), American essayist, philosopher, poet

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
Dale Carnegie, (1888–1955), American writer and lecturer

“All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires
depends on the education of youth.”
Aristotle, (384 BC–322 BC), Greek philosopher

"When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die,
the world cries and you rejoice."
Cherokee Expression

“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
Harriett Beecher Stowe, (1811– 1896), American author and abolitionist

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Eleanor Roosevelt, (1884–1962), First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, author, speaker

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do
than by the ones you did do."
Mark Twain (1835-1910), American Author and Humorist

"Even a slow walker will arrive."
African Proverb

"Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it."
Michelangelo (1475-1564), Italian Renaissance Painter, Sculptor, Architect Poet and Engineer

''Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.''
Albert Einstein (1879-1955), Albert Einstein (1879–1955), Theoretical Physicist

"We don't beat the reaper by living longer; we beat the reaper by living well and living fully."
Randy Pausch (1960-2008) American Educator - Author and Subject of "Last Lecture"

"A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read."
Mark Twain (1835-1910), American Author and Humorist

“It is the Artist’s lofty mission to shed light into the very depths of the human heart.”
Robert Schumann, (1810–1856), German composer, writer, and music critic

"Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm."
Publilius Syrus (c. 1st Cent. B.C.), Syrian-born Latin Writer of Maxims

When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that is in itself a choice."
William James (1842-1910), American Author and Psychologist

"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."
Mark Twain (1835-1910), American Author and Humorist

"We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid."
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Author, Printer, Satirist, Politician, Scientist, Inventor...

"Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of a genius.
Love, love, love, that is the soul of a genius."
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), Composer of the Classical Period

"Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness."
Mary Angelou (b. 1928), American Author "America's most visible black female autobiographer"

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience,
but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), Clergyman, Activist and Prominent Leader in Civil Rights Movement

"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm
and gaity to life and to everything."
Plato (428/427 BC–348/347 BC), Classical Greek Philospher and Mathematician

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), English Author (from "Music at Night", 1931)

“Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.”
Lao Tzu

"Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy, it is the wine of a new procreation, and I am Bacchus who presses out this glorious wine for men and makes them drunk with the spirit."
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), Composer (quoted in Marion M Scott, Beethoven, 1934)

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC), Greek Philosopher

"Try not to become a person of success but a person of value.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955), Albert Einstein (1879–1955), Theoretical Physicist

"Music is enough for lifetime, but lifetime is not enough for music."
Rachmaninov (1873-1943), Russian Composer, Pianist and Conductor

''We must be the change we wish to see in the world.''
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), Political and Spiritual Leader of India

"When I open my eyes I must sigh, for what I see is contrary to my religion, and I must despise the world which does not know that music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy."
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), Composer, (quoted by Bettina von Arnin, letter to Goethe, 1810)

"La musique avant toute chose."
Paul Verlaine (1844-1896), French Poet

''Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.''
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Painter, Sculptor, Scientist, Mathematician, Engineer, Inventor...

"He who hears music feels his solitude peopled at once."
Robert Browning (1812-1889), English Poet and Playwright

"Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life."
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), Composer

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent."
Victor Hugo (1802-1885), French Poet, Writer"Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich."
Sarah Bernhardt (1844 – 1923), French stage actress

“Humor is man’s greatest blessing.”
Mark Twain, (1835–1910), American humorist, satirist, lecturer and writer

"Self-trust is the first secret of success."
Ralph Waldo Emerson, (1803 –1882), American essayist, philosopher, poet

"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it
should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than
a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days
in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."
Jack London, (1876–1916), American author

"If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse gift will find a fitting place."
Margaret Mead (1901-1978), Cultural anthropologist, author, speaker

“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”
Herman Melville, (1819–1891), American author

“Music washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life.”
Berthold Auerbach (1812–1882), German-Jewish poet and author

“Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.”
Chinese Proverb

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
C.S. Lewis, (1898–1963), British author

Earth, Teach Me
Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light.
Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young.
Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain.
An Ute Prayer

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has
imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
Henry David Thoreau, (1817–1862), American author and philosopher

"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn."
Harriet Beecher Stowe, (1811-1896), American author and abolitionist

"The person who works and is never bored is never old. Work and interest in worthwhile things are the
best remedy for age."
Pablo Casals, (1876-1973), Spanish Catalan composer, cellist and conductor

“Men succeed when they realize that their failures are the preparation for their victories.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, (1803 –1882), American essayist, philosopher, poet

"Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
Eleanor Roosevelt, (1884–1962), First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, author, speaker

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
Albert Einstein, (1879–1955), Theoretical physicist

“Success is not to be measured by the position someone has reached in life, but the obstacles he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
Booker T. Washington, (1856–1915), American educator, author and leader of the African-American community

“When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”
Helen Keller, (1880–1968), American author, activist and lecturer

"Treat the earth well.
It was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children."
Ancient Indian Proverb

“No great man ever complains of want of opportunity.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, (1803 –1882), American essayist, philosopher, poet

“Never stand begging for what you have the power to earn.”
Miguel de Cervantes, (1547–1616), Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright

O, with what freshness,
what solemnity and beauty,
is each new day born;
as if to say to insensate man,
thou hast one more chance!
Strive for immortal glory!'
Harriett Beecher Stowe, (1811– 1896), American author and abolitionist

"Just do it."
, Inc., (founded, 1962, officially became Nike, Inc. in 1978)

“Many of life's failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Thomas Edison, (1847–1931), American inventor and businessman

There isn't a person anywhere that isn't capable of doing more than he thinks he can.”
Henry Ford, (1863–1947), American founder of the Ford Motor Company

“The individual activity of one man with backbone will do more than a thousand men with a mere wishbone.”
William Boetcker, (1873 – 1962) American religious leader and influential public speaker

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed,
but that our power to do is increased.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, (1803 –1882), American essayist, philosopher, poet

“The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.”
Abraham Lincoln, (1809–April 1865), sixteenth President of the United States

“Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right.”
Henry Ford, (1863–1947), American founder of the Ford Motor Company

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
William Shakespeare, (1564– 1616), English poet and playwright

“None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this
whisper which is heard by him alone.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, (1803 –1882), American essayist, philosopher, poet

No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.”
Helen Keller, (1880–1968), American author, activist and lecturer

“To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, (1803 –1882), American essayist, philosopher, poet

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for.”
Epicurus, (341 BCE– 270 BCE), ancient Greek philosopher

“Clear your mind of can't.”
Samuel Johnson, (1709-1784), English author

"What we love, we shall grow to resemble."
Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) French Theologian

“We judge of man's wisdom by his hope.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, (1803 –1882), American essayist, philosopher, poet

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Walt Disney, (1901–1966), multiple Academy Award-winning American film producer, director, animator

"Nothing is to be rated higher than the value of the day."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German Poet, Dramatist and Novelist

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
Helen Keller, (1880–1968), American author, activist and lecturer

"Be not disturbed at being misunderstood; be disturbed rather at not being understanding."
Chinese Proverb

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
Albert Einstein (1879–1955), Theoretical Physicist

“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.”
Martin Luther, (1483–1546), German monk, theologian, Father of Protestantism

"Days are scrolls: write on them only what you want remembered."
Bchya Ibn Pakuda, 11th Century Jewish Philosopher and Rabbi

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
Albert Einstein, (1879–1955), theoretical physicist

"Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle. Some things are within your control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental role and learned to distinguish between what you can and can't control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible." Epictetus (c. 55-135 A.D.) Greek-born Roman Slave and Stoic Philosopher

"Let everyone sweep in front of his own door and the whole world will be clean."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German Writer, Poet and Dramatist

"Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement."
Henry Ford (1863-1947) American Industrialist and Founder of Ford Motor Company

"Just as iron rusts from disuse, even so does inaction spoil the intellect."
Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) Italian Renaissance Painter and Sculptor

"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions."
Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-born American Physicist

"One of the functions of intelligence is to take account of the dangers that come from trusting solely to the intelligence."
Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) American Historian and Philosopher

"Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect."
Chief Seattle, (c. 1786–1866), leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish Native American tribes

"Little drops of water wear down big stones."
Russian Proverb

"No great thing is created suddenly."
(55-135), Greek-born Roman Slave and Stoic Philosopher

"Dig the well before you are thirsty."
Chinese Proverb

"There is nothing wrong with idealism, no matter what the cynics say."
Thomas Winship (1921-2002), American Newspaper Editor

"Love keeps the cold out better than a cloak."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807- 1882), American Poet

"All growth depends upon activity.
There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work."
Calvin Coolidge (`872-1933), 30th President of the United States

"We are shaped and fashioned by what we love."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German Poet, Dramatist and Novelist

"Four things come not back: the spoken word, the sped arrow, the past life and the neglected opportunity."
Arabian Proverb

"If any man seeks for greatness, let him forget greatness and ask for truth, and he will find both."
Horace Mann (1796-1859), American Educator

"Each day grow older, and learn something new."
Solon (c. 630 - c. 500 B.C.), Greek Statesman and Reformer

"Humility is an experience of the commonality of all human beings. It leads to a balanced outlook on human nature that takes into account all the strengths and failings each of us is subject to. To be truly humble requires taking an honest look at ourselves, and coming to clearly know our abilities and weaknesses. When our personal evaluation is honest, we can respect who we are, and this deep acceptance of our nature leads to a wider understanding and greater respect for others. We are motivated to help others with their problems and to support them in cultivating their capabilities. We see that we all share similar goals of happiness and fulfillment; we are all subject to similar problems and difficulties."
Tarthang Tulku, (born 1934), Tibetan teacher (lama), lives in America, works to preserve Tibetan art & culture

"The right person is the one who seizes the moment."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German Poet, Dramatist and Novelist

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