The One Thing I Should Focus on

I've been listening to Polish Composer Frederic Chopin today, and it's evident he composed music from the piano exclusively for the piano. His intricate, decorative pieces both inspire and humble me. I'm getting a whole new appreciation for Classical music.

I asked a few accomplished musician friends for advice, specifically what is the one thing I should focus on as a complete beginner? The answer has been unanimous: learn to sight-read music. As one friend and accomplished pianist put it: be able to translate musical notation with your fingers as quickly as possible.

I'm running with this advice, snatching a pattern here, a hack there. I'm like a doctor's patient seeking a second and third opinion. If I don't immediately glom on to a particular concept, I'll try a different technique from some other course or book. There's a superabundance of educational material out there, each with a unique twist on the same subject.

Still, I may be looking for a magical solution that doesn't exist in order to avoid the hard physical and mental work that is required.