The one thing you need to become an organist or anything else as an adult


Persistence is the key to learning something new. Taking up something new as an adult can be a challenge. Here are some situations that you may need to persist through:

  • Reaching your goal may take longer than you want it to or you ever dreamed. When I started organ lessons a few years ago, I’d thought I would be playing for a church within a year or two!
  • You may not be your teacher’s best student.
  • There will be people younger than you that can do it better than you. Remember to not compare your journey to someone else’s.
  • Questions. You will get many questions. How much longer will you need to take lessons? Why are you still taking lessons? Why didn’t you pick something easier? Why are doing that?
  • There may be barriers to overcome to get started. I had to find a teacher and then an organ to practice on. I was fortunate that the first potential teacher I asked said yes!

PersistenceWhy do we need Persistence?

We need persistence to keep going. Without it, we would give up. When the questions come about our new activity, and we start to wonder why are we doing it anyway, we’d quit. There may be times when you feel like you are not going to get it. You may feel defeated. If the new activity is something you want to master (regardless of how long it is taking), persistence gets you through the difficult periods.

What Persistence looks like

Susan Cain states in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking¬†that “Persistence isn’t very glamorous”. Persistence means it is going to take time. Here are some suggestions:

  • ¬†Continue to take action. Keep practicing and learning. Only thinking about what you want to do someday will not make it happen.
  • Build daily habits and routines. Find a time where you can practice for at least 15 or 30 minutes a day. This is easier said then done, as this is something I struggle to do. It is much easier to write about persisting than to live it out!
  • Record the time spent on your practicing and learning. This will show how a little bit of persistence each day adds up over time. I write my time in on a calendar. In the past I used a larger full year calendar. This year I am using a monthly calender and a notebook.
  • Take one step at a time. I needed to learn the basics of organ playing before I could learn to play a complete hymn.
  • Do what your teacher and/or mentors tell you to do. They are the teacher for a reason!

Persistence Fortune CookieI once received a message in a fortune cookie that said “Your persistence will pay off”. Now, I do not believe in fortune telling, but this is great advice, regardless of the source!

Do you struggle with persistence? Is there anything you have been learning for a while? Also, feel free to share stories persistence success stories in your comments.

June 2014 Organ Lesson with an experiment
Heidi's 5 made up rules for organ practice
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Heidi Bender writes about her experiences of learning to play the organ. She started on the adventure in 2009.

She also writes on her website Tons of Thanks, which helps people write thank-you notes. Heidi is also a cat lady who writes at The Joy of Cats.

7 thoughts on “The one thing you need to become an organist or anything else as an adult”

  1. Heidi,

    The picture of your 3 cats is very nice. I bet someone had to be persistent to capture that photo.
    Recently I have had to be persistent with dietary changes to aid in weight loss and better eating habits. That is an ongoing struggle for many people.
    In years gone by, it has taken a lot of persistence in teaching some of my children to ride a bike. One of them I thought would never master that but through persistence and many trips to the big church parking lot the skill was mastered.

    • Hi Mom,

      Ted took the picture one day on rare occasion where all 3 cats could be in same photo and he was home to take it.

      You are doing great with your weight loss. An inspiration to all of us!

      For others who may be reading this, I was not one of my mom’s children that needed persistence to learn how to ride a bike. Riding a bike come naturally to me – much more so that learning to play the organ!


  2. I do believe that persistence is a key to success. I think at times it is hard to start something but it is also equally hard to finish something strong. To finish strong you have to be willing to be persistence in the face of not much encouragement. I think it helps to work on something a little each day and keep a record. Tracking something gives you an idea of how well you have been faithful to whatever it is you are after. I read once that it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert at something. While we may not all be trying to get to the expert state it does take a lot of effort to master things at some level. At times we have to encourage our teacher as well. We need to let them know that we are not going to give up on anything; that will be work through difficulties and look to them for guidance.

    • Hi Mark,

      Great comment! I agree with everything you said. It can take courage the start something new and then a lot of persistence to finish it. Even simple things like organizing a closet can be hard to finish.

      as always, thanks for reading!


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