Some piano players feel that they are stuck at a certain level and can’t improve due to limited practice time. On the other hand, some of them thinks that it is very hard to master a piece no matter how much time they spend on practicing. In fact, it is useless to practice for long hours if you don’t practice effectively. How to practice piano effectively? Here are some great tips for you to help you make the most of your practice time and achieve your goals in the shortest time.
The most important thing in practicing piano is, of course, be consistent. Practicing consistently for a short session every day can give better improvement compared to practicing for long hours once a week. Therefore, it is advisable for every piano player to create a routine and practice every day.
Break Down Your Practice Into Small Sessions
It is also important to break down your practice into small sessions according to your own concentration span instead of practicing for a long session. When you practice in small sessions, you will be able to fully concentrate on what you practice. The most effective practice session should be around 30 minutes to 45 minutes depending on each individual. Try to determine the practice duration which is most suitable for you by finding out your own limit. When you feel tired or keep making mistakes, it is time to take a break and continue later.
Warm-up and Prepare Yourself Before Practice
Warming up your fingers is a good way to get your piano practice started at the beginning of the session. It can be some simple scales or finger exercises. Warming up prepares your fingers to adapt better for the piano practice and reduce the risk of hand injury. Remember to keep your hands at the proper piano hand position to achieve the optimum effect.
Keep Your Practice Interesting
Always keep yourself motivated is another key to achieving good results in piano practice. A good way to maintain your motivation is to keep your practice interesting. Try to learn something new in each practice session to keep your practice fresh. You can also devote 10 to 15 minutes of your practice time to play something you love.
Set some long-term and short-term goals that you want to achieve. For example, your short-term goal can be to learn a small section of a piece within a week and your long-term goal can be to pass a music exam in a year. With specific goals set, your practice will be more meaningful and goal-oriented which will in turn become more effective.
Keeping a Music Practice Journal
A music practice journal is a diary used by the piano player to record his piano practice. You can record the pieces that you learn in each practice session, goals, things to improve and practice time in each day. Keeping a music practice journal can help you to monitor your learning progress, tracking the days that you skip practice and help you to work towards your goals.
Enjoy the Music
When you enjoy and love what you are playing, you can surely perform and interpret the music in a better way. Therefore, always feel the music and enjoy! Keep a positive attitude and be confident to yourself while you are playing or practicing.
Recording yourself during your piano practice session is another beneficial way to speed up your performance and learning processes. By listening back to the recording, you will be able to hear your own performance like an audience. You will be able to notice some of your weakness or mistakes that you didn’t realize while you are practicing. Furthermore, recording yourself gives you a feeling that you are playing in front of an audience which can help you to overcome stage fright during performance too.
Tips for Learning a New Piece of Music
1. Analyze the Piece
Observe for the key signature and time signature. Analyze the structure of the whole piece by looking for patterns and similar phrases in the piece. Also, find the accidentals, unexpected notes, and tricky parts of the piece so that you can pay extra attention to it. Try to identify scales, broken chords, arpeggios, and ornamentation and note it down on the piece.
2. Start Practicing Slowly and Hand Separately
In the beginning, learn the notes by practicing slowly on separate hand. When each individual hand can be played fluently, try to practice hands together. Slowly speed up to the desired tempo by increasing the speed little by little. You can use a metronome to help you on this.
3. Practice by Sections
Divide the piece into small sections and work on each small sections one at a time. Practice each section until it can be played fluently without mistakes. Then, move on to the next section and practice with the same way.
4. Do Not Practice Mistakes Over and Over Again
When mistakes happen, try to correct it on the spot to prevent it from becoming a bad habit.
5. Practice Without Pedal
Try to practice the piece without pedal. You will learn to play the piece smoother and it helps you to get familiarize with the notes too.
6. Polishing the Piece
Lastly, polish the piece by observing the performance directions, phrasing, dynamics, tempo, and feeling.
Do you think these piano practice tips are helpful? Any other tips that you want to share with us? Let me know your piano practice experience in the comment box below!