Whether you’re just learning to play the piano or trying to master a composition by Chopin, practice is key. Here are eight great tips that will help you along the way:
1. Set aside at least 20 minutes each day to practice. That’s 20 minutes minimum — the more you can practice the better. If you do have more time available, try breaking your practice into 20 minute intervals throughout the day so it doesn’t feel too daunting.
2. Don’t forget to warm up. Have you ever tried to send a text message while your fingers were freezing? It’s nearly impossible to type quickly and without mistakes because your fingers are stiff. The same goes for playing the piano. It’s important to warm up your hands and fingers so you can fluidly play the keys. This is especially important when you are learning because you will stumble upon enough mistakes even without clunky stiff fingers!
3. Don’t try to take on too much. Unless you’re a piano virtuoso, it’s highly unlikely that you will be able to master an arrangement the first time you play it. Instead of taking on the entire piece, break it down into manageable sections. Depending on your level of ability, this can range from just one measure to one page. Whatever you or your teacher decide is achievable for you, set your practice goal and stick to it.
4. Avoid the tendency to always start at the beginning. The very beginning isn’t always a good place to start. When you start at the beginning each time you sit down to practice, you only master the beginning before your allotted practice time is up… without ever giving yourself time to tackle that difficult section.
5. Practice slowly. Rushing through the piece means that you might make mistakes, and then you run the risk of learning those mistakes. Instead, play each note deliberately until you are sure of your fingering. With most digital keyboards, you can even record at a practice tempo and play back at a faster tempo to see how it will sound when you’ve mastered the song.
6. You don’t need a piano to practice. While this advice might seem bizarre, you can actually practice piano keystrokes anywhere. Practicing the fingering of a difficult section away from the piano can help your muscle memory when you do sit down to practice.
7. Listen to the song when you’re not playing. Knowing the tune of a song can often help your fingers move along the keys. Download the song you’re trying to master onto your smartphone or tablet and listen to it often — even when you’re away from the piano. Having the song in your head can also help get you inspired to sit down at the piano and practice it yourself.
8. Pick a piece that you want to play. It may seem obvious, but you’re far more likely to practice a song that you like. You’re going to be playing the song over and over, so make sure it’s something that you want to hear! That’s where the Yamaha MusicSoft Sheet Music library can help. It’s filled with thousands of songs, so you’re guaranteed to find something that appeals. You can even easily customize purchased music, so if you want to transpose the key or change the notation, you can doA so before you print it out.
Now you’re ready to discover for yourself how practice makes perfect!