I remember taking one of my brother's 'jazz' piano books to my high school piano teacher and asking her to teach me the pieces. She was not impressed. (It wasn't like they were even jazz standards). She put the book away and told me that I need to focus on my exam pieces. But I hated practicing the piano with a passion and I had figured that it was because I need some more inspiring pieces. Needless to say it wasn't long before I switched piano teachers, but it was still my high school subject, and I still needed to learn those exam pieces.
Over the later years of learning to play music, I just accepted whatever pieces my teachers gave me and decided that it was the only way it needed to be done. I convinced myself that if you want to be a good musician, you have to play all the pieces you are given.
But the reality of this, is that those pieces (or scales) that didn't motivate me to practice, also lead me to recent the piano.
Somehow, learning all the pieces on my woodwind instruments wasn't so terrifying, but it certainly didn't always make me excited about picking up my instruments and practicing.
Now as a musician, I have found that the best way to motivate myself to practice, is to pick music to play that I actually like. This is not necessarily music that I always listen to, or that is popular. But music that is interesting and fairly challenging to play. Yet it mustn't be so difficult that I can't sight-read some of it.
If this is my motivation, then it needs to be how I approach my teaching. Yes, you still need to eat your vegetables, learn those scales and play those pieces, but a dessert of a fun piece, is a definite incentive.
So I hope that you too can find some fun, catchy music to learn this holidays.
Happy one week holiday everyone