Do you want to practice the piano more efficiently? These few tips will help you progress faster and make your work sessions more enjoyable.
by Akash Burman
You probably already know that playing the piano regularly, preferably every day, is essential for progress.
But when it comes to practice, quality matters more than quantity. Scientific research on pedagogy and education have proven that proper training makes learning much faster.
So how do you do it right and train effectively? Discover our tips for getting the most out of your daily practice.
1. Set a goal for each session
Set a goal for yourself at the end of each of your training sessions. Having a goal allows you to improve your practice and increase your feeling of satisfaction. To improve your technical and physical abilities such as dexterity or finger speed, practice on specific arpeggios and scales. Our courses make it easy to determine specific and measurable goals.
Another option: if you are tackling a difficult passage, your goal might be to play it ten times without errors. Play this passage on its own and then incorporate it into the rest of the song. Once you’ve achieved that goal, check out tip # 7 before moving on to the next goal.
2. Remove distractions
Distractions are plentiful, some are inevitable, others can be removed. During your next workout, ask your loved ones to leave you alone for half an hour. If your piano is in the living room, practice when you are alone and remember to turn off the television. Even without sound, moving images are still annoying because they get enough attention from your subconscious to reduce the quality of your workout.
Your phone is a big source of distractions. A simple notification instantly reduces your focus. While practicing, place your phone out of sight and in silent mode. Or better yet, leave it in another room.
Uninterrupted practice is ideal for training effectively and entering a state of “flow” which allows you to fully immerse yourself in the song. The psychological benefits of this state for the piano and the speed of learning are considerable.
3. Structure your practice like a workout
In sports, you have made a habit of warming up before running or lifting weights. The practice of the piano is not so far removed from a sporting activity. Not only does the piano improve brain functions, it also allows you to work the 34 muscles and 123 ligaments of each hand. You should approach playing the piano with the same state of mind as when you are physically active.
Begin your session by relaxing your wrists and relaxing your fingers with stretches and hand exercises. Rekindle your coordination with scales, improvisation or other exercises of your choice. And do not start new difficult sections until you have completed this warm-up.
Also pay attention to the length of your workout. Even professional pianists divide their practice time. Stop your training when you have reached your goal and before the quality of your practice begins to decline. End your session with a warm-up, improvise or play something you master to end on a positive and upbeat note.
4. Correct bad habits before they set in.
Playing the piano correctly takes time and precision. If you are faced with a difficult passage, resist the urge to move directly on and take the time to correct all your mistakes and imperfections. The best method ( scientifically tested ) is to listen to your little inner voice that warns you against difficulties. Stop in your momentum and work this passage until it is fully mastered.
This method also works to correct bad technical habits such as posture and fingering. Recent bad reflexes are more easily corrected than long-established practices. In the most critical cases, the solution is to start from scratch …
5. Vary your training techniques
If you exercise the same way all the time, you may find that your progress slows down. To avoid stagnating, alternate your training techniques as often as possible.
For example, you may decide not to repeat a difficult passage indefinitely. Play it once in slow motion. Then play it fast the next day. If you usually start your practice with the easier sections, start the next time with the more difficult sections. If you are still playing with both hands, try each hand separately.
The important thing is to change something or integrate a new technique to stay alert and enrich your practice.
6. Receive constant feedback
Many pianists find it difficult because they practice without knowing if they are playing correctly. Training with people in the background is overwhelming enough, so asking a loved one to listen carefully and stop at every mistake is nearly impossible.
Learning to play with an app is a great option. You can select passages to repeat and the application stops each time you make a mistake. You can repeat this passage as much as needed and progress at your own pace.
7. Reward yourself
Do you remember the goal you set for yourself at the start? Once you’ve achieved that goal, it’s important to reward yourself. Studies in psychology have shown that “positive reinforcement” is much more effective in learning and developing good habits than “negative reinforcement” which penalizes mistakes. So, don’t be too hard on yourself when you have a hard time. Stay calm and keep playing until you reach your goal.
The reward can be an episode of your favorite series, a small pastry, or anything else you want. Rewards, even the smallest, help form stronger nerve connections and build a sense of accomplishment.