10. Don’t be afraid of new skills. Learning new things is hard, whether it’s double thirds or getting your slobbery thumb back into your mouth. It’s ok to struggle a bit. Keep at it! And yelp in frustration if it helps.

9. Rotation matters. Especially when you have accidentally flipped onto your belly. Now what? Remember that our bodies are all curves, but piano keys and floors are flat. Act accordingly.

8. Focused practice works. If you just discovered how to blow raspberries, do that 24/7 until it is second nature. Then you can put it away. However, if you only practice something sporadically, you won’t gain the momentum needed for mastery (ahem, that Chopin you touch only every few months, or rolling onto your least favorite side).

7. When you’re feeling unmotivated, a little cry and a nap do wonders.

6. Being fed is priority number one. If you’re hungry, feel free to stop everything and complain loudly until that’s fixed, because you’re not really focusing anyway.

5. Getting enough sleep is priority number two. This is a toughie. Send thoughts and prayers.

4. If you start staring at a phone screen, you may never stop. Just don’t do it.

3. Set your goals high! Whether it’s that concerto you’ve always wanted to play or a toy that is nowhere close to your high chair, make sure to set “reach” goals so you stay motivated.

2. Ask for help! All of us need support and feedback, even if you are the most beautiful, smart, amazing person that ever existed on the planet (like my baby).

1. When you’ve done something dubious, smile and the whole world smiles with you. This applies to both blow-out poopy diapers and wrong notes.

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Dave McLellan

Concert & Chamber Musician

Join over 40,000 pianists improving every day with courses and lessons on tonebase.