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Hoffman Academy Blog

Is it Okay to Take a Break From Piano?


The short answer is yes, it is okay to take a break from piano, but it is important to do it for the right reasons, and to understand the consequences.

Most of the time, the best choice is to be consistent with daily piano practicing. Piano students practice every day just like they brush their teeth every day. You don’t take a break from brushing teeth.

Knowing When to Take a Break

There are some circumstances when a break from piano can be helpful. If the piano experience is causing harm to the family in terms of arguing, resentment, and negative feelings in a child, or if it is damaging to a child’s self-esteem because of feeling stuck and unsuccessful, then a break might be in order. Especially if you as a parent have done everything you could to be consistent and make practice fun, and piano is still creating negative vibes in the home, a break can give you and your child a beneficial way to reset and get into a more positive mode.

As personal experience, my son Isaac started piano lessons at the age of 4. Things went well at first, but then we realized that even though he wanted the lessons, he didn’t want to be told to practice. He didn’t have the ability to comply with an adult-imposed routine. We took a break for about six months, began again, and found it a much more enjoyable experience.

Coming Back From a Break

If a break is right for your family, have the courage to do it, but know there will be challenges when coming back. Taking a break means, eventually, having to come back from a break. At first you’ll need to take it slow and easy. Don’t expect all the learning to still be there. Be ready to go back and review some old lessons. Err on the side of making it easy at first instead of jumping right in where your student left off and suffering through the frustration of lost skills.

Does Summer Break Mean Piano Break?

Does your child get a break from school in the summer? Don’t assume that summer is an automatic break from piano too. Summer is a great time to make progress on the piano. Without the time constraint of school, many kids can practice longer, or even do two practice sessions per day. Do what’s right for your family, of course, but so long as piano is a positive experience for your child, why not make it a part of your child’s summer too? Download our fun 90 Day Summer Practice Challenge to help motivate your child to make piano practice part of their summer.

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4 Comments

  1. Hand-drawn avatar
    Emily

    Hello, Mr. Hoffman,
    I have been playing piano for five years, I started out self taught, then took lessons for two years, and have been away from lessons for the past two years due to a conflict with my teacher, and not enough money for lessons. What can I be doing to retain my knowledge and learning until I can take up lessons again? I am trying to balance college and work, and still find a good time to take lessons, hopefully starting in the spring. My main concern is that I’ve already lost a lot. I sat down at the piano today, after not playing anything for a few weeks, and my fingers felt like lead. It was awful. Help!
    Emily

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      Hi Emily,
      Sometimes it is necessary for various reasons to take a break from piano, but that doesn’t mean we don’t feel the effects when we sit back down at the piano. It can be frustrating when trying to come back from a break and trying to get back into the habit of practicing. Just keep at it and don’t give up! You’ll see you’re progress will come quickly. Here are some Practicing tips that you might find useful while you are in between your live lessons: Learning How to Practice & Summertime Practice Time

      Hope this helps! Good luck and Happy Playing!

  2. Hand-drawn avatar
    Beckie

    Hi Mr Hoffman

    I just wanted to say what a great idea the 90 Day challenge has been so far – we haven’t missed a day of music and it’s such a great motivator! We are planning a family concert when her grandparents visit from England in August :o)

    I do have a quick question, Imogen is having trouble keeping her fingers on the keys and they keep shooting up into the air. I find it really difficult to be encouraging but firm with her to try and keep her fingers relaxed. Do you have any tips or trick s to help please?

    Thanks again for your awesome lessons!

    Beckie & Imogen

    • Hoffman Academy logo
      Hoffman Academy

      I’m so glad that you are working with your daughter on this. Here are a few suggestions:

      First, sometimes it helps to describe things in a different way; maybe ask her to imagine her hands are covered in honey or that she’s under a slowness spell…something that will catch her imagination. Slowing way down until she can play it just right often helps before working up to normal speed. Another exercise you can try is to have her rest her fingertips on a desk or table, lifting and replacing each finger one at a time; as she does, have her try to keep her other fingers touching the table, still focusing on relaxing her hand, as if the other fingers are just too heavy to lift. She may not be able to lift each finger very high, but don’t worry about it.

      However, sometimes focusing on piano posture can be a little backwards – if you try really hard to keep every finger perfect at once, your hands can become tense and rigid, causing your fingers to lift and straighten when you don’t mean them to. So, if the above ideas don’t help and it’s becoming frustrating to your daughter, it may be a good idea to let the matter drop for a little while and come back to it later. I’m sure your love and commitment to your daughter will be your best guide. Good luck, and feel free to stay in touch with any further questions. – Mr. Hoffman