Top Ten Qualities of a Successful Piano Student


by Jenny Simaile
Goonellabah, New South Wales, Australia


earning to play the piano isn't easy, but well worth the effort, especially when you know what personal qualities are most likely to help you succeed. Below you'll find a listing of those qualities which I think help make piano students successful. If you have them already, that's great. If you don't, think about working on them. You'll enjoy your lessons more and your teacher will thank you.



1. Perseverance.  You won’t get anywhere doing anything if you’re the type of person that gives up easily.  This is especially true for the piano. You must practice the piano perseveringly to progress!  Say it to yourself five times a day!

2. Patience.  Learning the piano is difficult. You must be patient with yourself – your brain and your body, and don’t forget to be patient with your teacher. All good things come to those with patience!

3. Reasonableness.  You cannot expect to learn a Chopin nocturne in five minutes! Nor is it advisable to compare yourself to your piano teacher or anyone else who has been playing for many years, when you have only had a hand full of lessons!  

4. Dedication.  You must devote time and effort to learning the piano. This takes prioritizing life’s events. Where you put piano on your list of priorities is one reflection of how well you will progress.

5. Humility.  Learning the piano is recognizing and accepting limitations.  Like all art forms, it is imperfect.   Mistakes, memory losses and nerves are all a part of the piano experience.  We need humility if we are to accept advice and suggestions from others with more experience than ourselves.

6. Enthusiasm.  It is very difficult to do anything unless we have a desire and a positive outlook on it.  A sincere love and enjoyment of music and the actual instrument will be your impetus for progress.

7. Inquisitiveness.  If we do not want to know what andante means, we won’t be bothered learning it, let alone remembering it.  Our knowledge and experience will therefore be limited.  

8. Endurance.  Playing the piano is not something that will be mastered overnight.  In fact, we must realize and accept that we probably have a good eight years ahead of us before we become truly competent.  When we’ve reached that stage, we then realize that our journey will no doubt last a lifetime;  an endurance test, but not a drudgery!

9. Sensitiveness.  Music is passion and tenderness.  Our mind, heart and bodies must be ‘in tune’ with expression. We must ponder, become absorbed and feel music.  There will be many who believe this is the ultimate quality for a successful student.

10. Creativeness.  Notes on a staff do not in themselves equate to music.  It is the way these notes are brought into a living experience that brings about music.  Music is art.  A piano player’s entire purpose is to create.  If you’re not creative, you probably won’t be drawn to the piano in the first place.


Page created: 4/14/04
Last updated: 01/30/15
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Reprinting from the Piano Education Page The Piano Education Page, Op. 10, No. 1,
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