My Personal Sight-reading Challenge : 5 minutes a day, 20 days a month
I took up this challenge in 2016 to make learning new pieces a part of my daily schedule. My practise commitment of 5 minutes a day, 20 days a month was easy to keep up. On days that I had time, 5 minutes often stretched to 45 minutes.
Something really IS is better than nothing
Learning new material became a regular part of my daily routine, and I practised older material in rotation, to keep in touch with it.
An erratic practise schedule like this was not enough for me to reach the playing levels that I would have liked to, but there was progress. Slow, steady, comfortable and enjoyable. It was enough to get me playing full pieces, rather than just demos of sections that I would practise to teach my students.
What’s more important, is that I started to feel the joy of playing once again, and to go to the piano to relax… Something that I had forgotten to do through the many years of busy – with family and work commitments, when I did not make the time to play the piano just for me.
Modifying my goals to meet my abilities
I had a few practise setbacks, because problems with my hands due to some health issues affected piano playing, among other things. So I had to modify my goals, take on easier pieces and take practise breaks for long stretches.
‘The 30 piece challenge” was out of my reach, because even though I had learned enough material, many pieces were still too rough and needed more work. However my levels of motivations were steady and no longer needed to upload my ‘first reading’ of each piece to make sure I continued, so I stopped doing this.
Having goals that were flexible and small helped me feel a sense of achievement. And this motivated me to stick with it.