Lifelong Learning: I Still Regret Quitting Piano Lessons


I suffered through four years of piano lessons that were worsened by my lack of desire to practice, a crusty fossil of an instructor, and my genetic inability to hear pitch. I wanted to quit with every ounce of my being. Over and over my mother said, “if you quit now you will regret it forever.”

She was right. I still regret quitting piano lessons. I know I could probably get an app for $0.99 that would teach me how to play piano on my iPod touch or Android HTC hero, but an App does not make you practice. It just is a piano alternative.

A recent post from Chris Brogan – Typing Classes – got me to thinking about the classes I didn’t take in school that now I wish I had.

1. Typing. I can hold my own on the keyboard but I have never had formal typing instruction. Thus I think overuse my pointer and middle fingers and under utilize my ring finger and pinky fingers. My thumbs just wave around helplessly. Touch screen typing on my smartphone is a disaster.

2. Spanish. As a tribute to my Germanic heritage I took three years of German class in high school so I can now say, “Sprechen sie Deutsch nicht sehr gut.” I don’t have much more. I should have taken Spanish. When I got to the University of Wisconsin and chose biochemistry as my major (a temporary choice) I opted for biochem in the School of Agriculture and Life Sciences instead of the College of Letters and Sciences because there was no foreign language requirement. I have at least three Spanish for medical professionals training systems on my bookshelf. All still sealed in the original packaging. I suppose I need to practice.

3. Accounting. I ran my own training business for the last eight years. Fortunately money in was always greater than money out. Beyond that I can’t tell you anything in-depth about my balance sheet. I can only get about two clicks deep into any Quickbooks feature before I am overwhelmed. My lack of aptitude here is solved with the old adage, “Hire it done.”

4. Shakespeare. I suffered through an unbearable classroom reading of Romeo and Juliet. Everyone in class took a turn reading a paragraph. I declared Et tu Brute? and closed the book on Shakespeare. My only really interest in Shakespeare now is to conquer the category on Jeopardy. I am also weak at American Presidents.

I graduated from High School in 1989. Hopefully in the next 20 years I will find the practice time for typing, Spanish, accounting, and keyboarding.

How about you? Anything you despised at the time that you now find essential? Or what topics do you want to study now?