|Posted on August 19, 2011 at 8:15 PM|
In a few short weeks, piano lessons will be in full swing. What are your goals for the new year of Piano Study?
As you already know, there is no progress in becoming a better musician without practice. Did you also know that careless practice can actually make you worse? When you sit down to practice, focus on the 5 ELEMENTS that will help you practice more efficiently and enjoy it more.
Of course the answer to who is YOU! Efficient practice requires more than justsitting on the bench and playing around. You could be sitting at the bench,mostly noodling around; please don’t call this Piano Practice! You must bringeverything with you to the bench: your body, your brain, your emotions, yourears, so you are hearing, seeing, and feeling, and the music you are playing isartistic and expressive, not just a succession of sounds.
Practice that leads to progress and perfection will include warm-ups; learning and reviewing scales, cadences, chords andinversions, arpeggios, and etudes; review of pieces you have already learned;your new assignment; and something you really love to play, just for fun.
Make practice a part of your daily routine. “Practice Only On The Days That YouEat,” as Dr. Suzuki said. You will be able to fit into your day whatever you have planned; plan ahead, and follow your plan.
Practice should soundlike the solving of a puzzle rather than a performance. You should hearmany repetitions of short phrases, combined with listening for improvement ineach repetition. The Fifth Repetition should sound much better than the First! Qualitypractice involves stopping, backing up to work on notes/rhythms/otherchallenges which have been marked and practiced initially in the lesson. ThePiano Lesson Is NOT “PRACTICE!” It is instruction in HOW to PRACTICE. Youshould hear thoughtful repetitions of isolated sections rather than simplyplaying through of the entire piece, if the student is past the pre-primerlevel.
If you are hearing the pieces being played straight through, often as quicklyas possible, as if the student was performing at a recital, then go on to thenext thing, no matter what happened, you (or your student) is making a hugepractice mistake.
PLEASE FOLLOW THROUGH IN:
- Setting specific goals to accomplish for your practice session
- Knowing what the piece should sound like
- Working on the most challenging spots first
- Breaking the music down into 2-4 measure phrases
- Repeating the passage many times AFTER you get it right
- Once a week, read through HOW TO START A NEW PIECE AND PRACTICE EVERYDAY in your piano journal.