Playing the piano is a fun and rewarding experience. The benefits for your health and brain have been proven by many scientific studies. However, beginners occasionally struggle with the mental and physical pursuit of getting started.
Whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist, there’s no one-size-fits-all model for success. But there are a few critical practice tips that everyone can apply to make a real difference in their piano playing. If you’re an aspiring pianist having a difficult time improving your piano skills, remember, you’re not alone.
Here are 5 tips to help you improve.
1. Focus on small parts first.
Taking things slow when you first start out is essential for good playing. Break piano pieces up thoroughly and work diligently on small sections until you achieve the right tone and rhythm. Mark difficult passages and work on them separately.
Listen very closely to your playing and try to pinpoint any uneven parts. Practice these as many times as you can to strengthen your weaker fingers. If you feel any tension in your hand, though, stop immediately and take a break.
2. Practice with a metronome.
Once you have mastered the tone and rhythm in slower sections, use a metronome in harder passages to gradually speed it up. This can help you develop the muscle memory and strength you need to play the part at the intended speed. It can also help you practice timing and tempo, and adjust your playing in accordance with the time signature. If there’s unevenness, make sure you go back to the first practice tip and get it right.
This is particularly important for pianists as you need to master each hand’s part and the combination together. Many teachers will recommend working on each hand in isolation until you reach the target tempo (or even faster) before going back to slow practice, both hands together.
3. Hammer down on the scales.
Practicing musical scales for each key signature isn’t very exciting, but it’s an important skill in piano playing. This will help you nail down your fingering habits and get a better sense of what notes are in each key.
Having a strong foundation in understanding the scales will help you when you’re ready to start improvising. The more you know about note and key relationships, the easier it will be to simply choose a key and make up a tune as you go.
4. Find efficient fingering.
If you are a novice, don’t be ashamed to write in the fingering on the score to help you learn it properly. This will aid in smoother playing and is very important for more complicated passages.
Practicing different scales is crucial so you know which fingers to use without having to think about it. Always remember to cross your thumb under your third finger to negotiate all the notes when playing scale-type passages (with a couple of exceptions, such as the F major scale).
5. Remember to take a break.
Piano players often wonder how much practicing should be done per day. But what matters more is the quality of the practice. You should organize your practice time so you have a sense of purpose and direction, as well as a way to measure your improvement. Since piano playing is mentally and physically exhausting, over-practicing can actually slow down your progress.
When you keep making the same mistake in the same spot over and over, take a break. Go for a walk. Eat something. Do a little stretching. You’ll notice that after a few hours, you’ll find it easier to concentrate again and that little problem spot might just disappear.
For aspiring pianists, these tips can help you make the most of your practice time. If you follow these guidelines and work on your piano skills consistently and diligently, you’ll be amazed at your rapid progress.
Are you finding it hard to improve your piano playing skills and bring your pieces to life? Do you need help figuring out more effective practice techniques? Join Musical U today to master your practice habits and achieve your musical goals.
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