Let’s be honest. Practicing the piano can feel like you’re doing a chore. Instead, these 4 tips will help you turn your frustration into that creative flow.
- Make goals – This might be common sense, but believe me this is important. Sometimes we’re so excited to play a new song on the piano that we don’t plan our goals for our practice session. Do we want to master a whole line, a few measures, or just one measure? Are we working on notes, rhythm, dynamics, and/or artistry? Are we working on practicing to perform from beginning to end or just in a specific section? Knowing our goals gives us direction and purpose to practice. Not making goals makes our practice session aimless, leading us to waste time and becoming unproductive.
- Be specific – This connects with the previous tip. It is essential to be specific about what to practice when you practice. Write down which measures are your weakest and hone in on them during your practice session. Don’t just robotically play from beginning to end, beginning to end, beginning to end, haphazardly thinking you’ll improve if you just play the song from start to finish every time. Not only are you going to waste time, but also you might be practicing mistakes. Practicing mistakes become detrimental in the long run because you’ll be so used to playing that wrong note or playing that wrong rhythm that it’ll be harder to correct yourself in the future.
- Take breaks – This might actually be the tip that a lot of people forget to implement. Taking breaks is important to refresh the mind, body, and soul. Depending on the person, take breaks every 15-20 minutes. For me, I like to stand up, stretch, use the restroom, eat a snack, check on social media, play games and call or text one of my friends or family members during my break. Usually I’ve found that when I come back from a break, the magic happens! The hard passage in the music becomes easier and you feel like you’re actually making progress! It’s really an exciting, joyful, and magical feeling! So remember, don’t slave away on the piano. Give yourself time to breathe with a break!
- Get feedback – Lastly, but not least, it’s important to get feedback from family and friends. From asking your relatives to listen to you to asking a complete stranger nearby to even calling/Skyping/Facetiming your best friend in a different state to listen and/or watch while you play, getting feedback will give you more ideas on how to improve your playing right away. Challenge yourself to play the song you’ve been working on to at least 3 people. Listening to their constructive criticism will give you insight into different opinions other than your own. You have nothing to lose and all to gain from others’ feedback!
Taking action to implement these 4 tips will make a difference when you practice the piano. I know practicing the piano can feel like torture sometimes, but it doesn’t have to be. All of that time practicing will be worth it in the end! Before you know it, you’ll want to practice!