10 Quick Tips About Piano Practice

The very first piano lesson takes careful planning and pacing. Students listen attentively while you go over the material with them. They understand the importance of good posture at the keyboard. Children remember to sit tall, while arms hang loosely from the shoulders. Songs sound great but when the child goes home, parents tell me that their kids do not know how to practice. Hopefully, these 10 tips will help!

1. Practice warm-ups first. When your hands are warmed-up properly, you will be able to approach a new song with greater ease and with less mistakes. Lack of tension produces more beautiful tones. Use scales and finger exercises for your warm-up. Always use curved fingers.

2. Practice slowly. Your brain cannot retain music information in detail when you play fast. It is necessary to play slowly and carefully at all times. Don’t push your speed. Take it slow and steady. Play each warm-up slowly at first. When you can play smoothly and evenly you may gradually increase speed.

3. Practice short passages. Each day practice just one passage, and practice it very carefully and thoroughly. In the long run, this makes for a better practice session. When you have a short piece or song to work on, you will not feel overwhelmed.

4. Practice at the same time. First thing in the morning you are refreshed and ready to go. For others, school and homework come first. Follow up with a practice session in the afternoon or early evening.

5. Practice chart. A practice chart or journal is a record of your practice sessions, including what you practice and for how long. At the end of each practice session, write down exactly which piece you studied and the number of minutes spent on it. Make a specific list, set goals and try to meet them. Check each goal as you complete it. Make practicing a game or challenge.

6. Practice with correct fingering. Learn a song with the sequence of notes stepping up and down the keyboard. Learn the form of the movements to play the piece comfortably. Learn to be fluent in responding to finger numbers. If you are consistent with your fingering, you will be very secure and confident when playing in front of others. I can’t emphasize good posture enough because it makes playing easier and enjoyable.

7. Practice right where you left off when you made a mistake. Students always start from the beginning of a song. They become very good at playing the beginning of a piece, but tend to be less proficient towards the end. Start over at the measure where you hit the wrong note.

8. Practice counting out loud. Counting out loud is good advice for the beginner student, especially during slow practice in the early stages of learning a song. It is an effective way to develop your sense of rhythm. Hearing your voice and your hands helps you with coordination between two hands as well as the timing of the piece. Counting the beat will help you play rhythms correctly. Counting out loud gets much easier with practice.

9. Practice each hand separately to the end. Take a few measures and within that segment play the Left Hand several times until you can play it comfortably with a rounded hand. Do the same with the Right Hand. Next play both hands slowly until you can play the segment comfortably before advancing to the next section. Decide if you want to practice each line or a couple of measures 2-3 times. Use a little weight when dropping into a key to make louder tones.

10. Practice looking at the music. As much as possible, try not to look down at your hands but look at your sheet music. It’s fine to occasionally look down at your hands, especially after the piece has been learned. When you look at your hands just try to remember where you are on the sheet music, and do not move your head. Just move your eyes. When you look back up at the sheet music it will be easier to find your place on the sheet music.

Piano practice is fun!