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Piano Practice
Piano Teacher

Piano Practice

Approach (Building a passion for playing)

One for the most common questions that Tim gets from his piano students is..."how should I approach piano practice.?"

As a piano teacher, Tim believes that it is essential for students to create and design practice sessions that are both relevant, rewarding, and enjoyable, thus the amount of time dedicated to practice will depend largely on the individual.

For many students, the road to actually achieving their piano playing goal will be long (and often arduous), and in some cases students may become dismayed and overwhelmed by the challenges that confront them as a pianist.

Keeping Practice Relevant

Most piano students have busy lives, from homework at school to busy day jobs and looking after family.

Piano practice is often an additional past-time that requires varying degrees of dedication. It is important for students to make piano lessons part of their life regime, and not the other way around.

Knowing What to Practice

Practicing piano does not necessarily mean hours of laborious scales and technical work. Often, practice is simply listening to piano music, reading a music related book, or even just experimenting with ideas and topics learnt during lessons.

For some students, practice may be playing one note (for several minutes), or applying a specific technique, such as the 'drop roll'. For other students it may be playing their favourite song or piece, or even learning theory.

Knowing When 'Not' to Practice

One of the issues that Tim finds with students and their approach to practice, is that they attempt to practice when the playing environment is arguably inappropriate.

Factors such as tiredness, fatigue, stress, noise and simple well-being all play a vital role in whether a student should even attempt piano practice on a given day.

It is vital that the mental (and physical) state of a student be right, before commencing piano practice. On some days, students may even find that emotionally draining pieces or works are largely impossible.

Whenever this happens, Tim advises students to avoid the piece (in question) for a while, until they are feeling more focused.

Brain-Mapping Mistakes

Another issue that Tim finds with his students, is that they sometimes return to a lesson having practiced a technical nuance incorrectly.

By practicing a technique incorrectly, simply builds a brain map that reinforces a mistake. In instances where this happens, Tim advises that students stop practicing the technique until it has been revisited by the teacher

The Trap

Piano is an instrument designed primarily for pleasure, entertainment, personal enjoyment and spiritual fulfillment.

Adopting a relevant and logical practice regime is the underpinning element for delivering the great gift of piano playing for every student.

If a practice schedule is designed in such a way that it becomes a hindrance to the student, then the importance (and art) of piano playing for that student will rapidly diminish.

Designing a Piano Practice Schedule

As a piano teacher, Tim almost never designs practice regimes for his students, however there are some vital components to practicing that Tim recommends.

These components include:

  • Technical Work
  • Songs & Pieces
  • Theory
  • Listening (to piano music)
  • Watching (pianists or musicians)
  • Reading (music related content)
  • Going to Concerts (seeing how musicians perform in front of an audience)

You can quickly see how piano practice (above), does not necessarily require scale work and repetitive technical elements.

If students adopt a 'rounded' approach to practice, then they are more likely to develop a passion for both playing, performing, and even practicing.

See Also
Preparation & AttitudePreparation & Attitude
Piano ExercisesPiano Exercises
Music TheoryMusic Theory

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