Adult Piano Milton Keynes

Active Repertoire: An Adult Student’s Perspective

Guest Post by Joni Hawkes

the music you can play, any time, any place

The recent articles on Active Repertoire on Pianodao have struck a chord with me … quite literally.

As an adult beginner into my third year of lessons, I have often found myself avoiding situations where I might be asked to play something, because I simply couldn’t play anything spontaneously without my trusty sheet music to hand.

The more pieces that I learned, the more they were becoming just a growing collection of stuff I couldn’t play.

The concept of Active Repertoire (always having 3 pieces that I enjoy playing, without notice, without embarrassment and without notation) has completely changed my approach to playing.

I now start every practice session by playing my 3 favourite pieces, and whilst I still have the book in front of me, I’m finding that with each session I’m increasingly looking away from the music as I play.

Added Benefits

In addition to the benefit of having 3 pieces I can play with confidence, the fact that I’m hearing myself play something good at the start of each practice session gives me a more positive “can-do” attitude toward the new pieces I need to tackle.

Previously, I might do a quick bit of warm up, then go straight into the tedious process of learning something new, which would absorb my entire practice session, so I never heard myself play anything to a decent standard.

On occasion – to make myself feel better – I might bring out a piece that I once knew but then found I couldn’t play it either, which was terribly disheartening and made me wonder if I should just give it all up.

Because I now like what I hear when I play (thanks to Active Repertoire), I’m devoting more time to practice and, for whatever psychological reason (probably just feeling more liberated and less self-doubting), I’m learning new pieces more quickly and experimenting more with playing by ear (ad-libbing chords and such).

I still have a long way to go before I will be stepping up to a public piano to play, but I can now see that as a real possibility in this exciting phase of my piano journey.

Adult Piano Lessons Milton Keynes

Joni Hawkes

Joni took up piano around a couple of years ago. She enjoys a wide range of music in a variety of styles, and has lessons with Andrew Eales.
She is married to singer-songwriter John Hawkes.

The PIANODAO website features 500+ FREE articles and reviews.
The blog exists thanks to generous DONATIONS from readers like you.
For extra support and music discounts, join the TEA ROOM COMMUNITY.

Published by

Andrew Eales

Andrew Eales is a widely respected piano educator and writer based in Milton Keynes UK, where he runs a successful private teaching studio. He is a published composer, author, and his original compositions and piano recordings have been streamed by more than a million listeners worldwide.