“Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!”
I’ve had the privilege to work with many students over the years who have suffered from anxiety, depression, PTSD and other mental illnesses. That isn’t surprising, because 1 in 6 of all Australians are currently experiencing anxiety, depression or both.1
When you are feeling isolated and lonely, stuck in that dark place, it can be really difficult to see a way out of it and to reach out for help. But there is help, and you can feel better. Talking to your friends, family and GP about how you are feeling is a great start.
One of the benefits of learning the piano during the time when you are trying to address your mental health is that it is a safe ‘practice’ space. Students often get really nervous in lessons, not because I’m scary (I’m not, I promise!!), but due to their own expectations.
With gentle support, you can learn that it can be OK to feel whatever emotion takes over, sit with it and gradually let it go. And, nothing will shock me. I’ve had many lessons in which students have spent much of the lesson crying or feeling agitated or shaking or lessons when they couldn’t play at all, but we get through it together – with empathy, encouragement and a dash of humour.
For some students, learning the piano is a really brave thing to do, but it can be incredibly rewarding. I’ve never taught a student who didn’t improve their playing and feel more empowered. It can give you a creative outlet and a really safe place to feel vulnerable. And it’s fun!
If you are interested in lessons and need support for your mental health, please let me know when you enquire.
If you are struggling right now please reach out for help. Lifeline is available 24 hours a day.
Call LIFELINE 13 11 14 for crisis support and suicide prevention.