Top 5 Piano Practice Tips
Try these top 5 piano practice tips to revitalize your piano practice and make the most out of whatever time you spend at the piano reading and practicing music. If you spend even 12 minutes Wisely at your piano practice you will be amazed at what you can accomplish quickly.
Record Yourself on Video
There is no faster and more honest way to get a true assessment of your own piano playing ability on a particular piece than to practice piano and record yourself on video. Even a cell phone video will help.A picture truly does tell a thousand words. You will not only notice pianistic details but posture, hand position and overall confidence in your bearing.
After you have comfortably learned the notes hands separately start to use the metronome method at a very slow speed. For example, begin with 80 ticks per minute and add 4 each day to work your way up to 100.
This works well if you already have laid the ground work and already know the music notes well. If you still struggle then simply move the metronome back to a smaller number and go through the same process. Remember: if you can’t play it well slowly, you certainly CAN NOT play it well up to tempo.
Learn 2 to 4 measures at a time really well before moving on. For example if you are learning a 16 measure piano piece or piano finger exercise simply start out by mastering only 4 measures the first day. That’s doable, right? Of course. Then just add 4 more measures the next day to add to your chaining method and you will have the whole piece learned in just 4 days!
Instead of just hurling extra practice at a troubling passage in a piece you need to break down the EXACT one or two measures where you are having trouble, LOOK AT YOUR HANDS and use the visualizing method to see the chord structure you are struggling with and make a permanent picture of it in your mind.
It is OK to memorize by picture or chord shape instead of just “hoping” your fingers will magically fall into place when you hit that measure. If you are a visual learner this may be a BIG breakthrough in your piano training.
No Speeding or Skimming
By speeding through those passages that you don’t play well at all it is easy to convince yourself that MOST of the piece sounds great. Beware that speeding over tough spots that can only be fixed with SLOW practice will simply delay your headache for later when you will have to fix the bad spot to perform the entire piece well.
Skimming over a piece at the beginning and being a good sight reader sometimes leads the budding pianist to believe that he/she really doesn’t need to practice it anymore. It’s kind of like a roller skater who makes it around the roller rink just fine the first time and immediately considers himself a pro.
If you find yourself saying ” but it sounded better at home” during your next piano lesson you may be a skimmer. To fix this make sure you practice each piece or section of a piece 3 times daily with the last time aiming for playing without errors.
Avoid Piano Practice Traps
Just like trained pros in football who miss catching the ball or ballerinas who accidentally slip and fall all of us have certain bad habits and we need to avoid piano practice traps as listed below.
A. For beginner pianists starting at the beginning of a piece and just playing it all the way through every day and calling that practice is a bad habit. Learn to break your piece into bite size pieces (4-8 measures) and master the content before moving on.
B. Avoid spending most of your practice time on passages you already know well and are comfortable with. Instead focus on the technical work that bogged you down at your last lesson and focus in on that.