5 Piano Practice Tips


Published: 04/22/2012



5 Piano Practice Tips


Ways to Improve Your Piano Practice

There are of course as many ways of approaching piano practice as there are pianists. Nevertheless, there are certain old general truths always worth thinking about when you are stuck with your new piece and you feel that you have to raise your standards a little bit to meet its demands. Here are five of them:

1) Make sure that you keep practising the hands separately sometimes. Many pianists start ignoring this need when they feel they have advanced to a level where they can trust their coordination. But to keep developing both hands, it's essential that both of them get special attention from time to time.

2) Keep a balance between fast and slow practise. It's wise to start learning things in a slow tempo, but right from the start you should also try short fragments of your piece at the speed you would like it to have. This gives you a better idea of the movements needed for a proper execution, and reminds you of what you want to achieve. On the other hand, never stop practising slowly sometimes, even when you know the piece really well. If you do, there is a danger that you will start ignoring the finer details and that your performance will deteriorate.

3) Use your time at the piano in an intelligent and efficient way. For example, begin your session with a few minutes of something that will make you feel good about your own playing - a piece that you really love, a passage that you are proud of - to build up your confidence and to remind yourself about why you are doing this. Then go straight to the most difficult part of your current piece. Too many pianists, even quite advanced ones, always just sit down and go over things from beginning to end, a waste of time that leads to an uneven performance.

4) On the other hand, of course you need to run through your piece to feel the sweep of it and to know that you can comfortably get from beginning to end. You need to take time once in a while to play without any stops at all, trying to deal with your mistakes as you go along. This will show you where you need to start practising next time. It will also prepare you mentally for your next performance, during which some small incident is very likely to occur - and before the audience of course you can't stop to correct it.

5) Know when to stop! To keep your mind and fingers fresh, you should allow yourself a lot of small breaks during your practice session. And you should try to figure out the moment when it's best for you to end a day's work. The beautiful thing is that your brain will keep working at your keyboard problems while you're taking a nap, a shower or even a few weeks holiday.

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