practice is an integral part of music lessons. Without daily practice, the
student becomes frustrated and the teacher impatient.
Acquiring musical playing skills is one area where the students must
teach themselves as much as the teacher teaches them; this self-teaching takes
place during daily practice.
is important to spend quality time with an instrument rather than
quantity. It is possible that the
task is easy to learn and that it has been successfully mastered in a very short
time. It is better to practice for shorter periods every day (say thirty
minutes) than it is to skip a few days and then try to make up for it with one
or two longer practice sessions. The
piano muscles tend to "forget" much faster than the brain does, thus
it is necessary to have physical reinforcement of skills every day.
do not watch a clock and say that the student is going to play
through the piece a number of times. When
a student is beginning a new piece, the slower the practice, the faster the
learning takes place. Students must
develop a good attitude towards practice. Practice
is an ongoing process of study, discovery, experimentation, and excitement.
of how to divide a 30 minute practice session
free play. Much of a student's learning comes from free play.
Allow the fingers to wander, and fiddle.
Encourage the making of original songs.
Improvisation is a constant learning process!
is a mental and a physical activity. The physical part of practicing is building
piano muscles. Training the
muscles, working on endurance and patterns comes from technical exercises such
as scales, chords, arpeggios, and finger exercises.
New pieces. Learn songs in sections.
Students must learn to create exercises within their pieces. Divide the piece
into small sections and practice each section until it is good. Pick a small section and work out the
fingering and the counting. Then combine two small sections to make a larger
section. Practice this larger section until it is good. Continue
combining sections until you play the whole piece.
should play particular lines or measures that they cannot execute properly many
more times than they should play the entire piece. Playing smaller sections of a piece within the practice time
is much more effective than mindless repetitions of the entire piece.
can be boring; a result is a loss of interest.
Make repetition interesting. Play
using different instrumental sounds on the keyboard.
Isolate certain elements of the music, such as clapping the rhythm, or
playing the rhythm on a percussion instrument.
Sing along with the words.
to make practice more Fun
Use Variety. Practicing should be a creative time, not just a dull routine. Any one method used over and over again will cause the brain to tune out. You will retain much more of what you practice if you vary your practice methods. Create your own variations of exercises. Practice with a variety of touches. Practice the piece staccato, soft, loud, and legato.
Permutations-Practice your technical exercises using different permutations.
For example, Triads use 132, CGE, ECG, GEC, CEG. Also use different combinations of permutations such as 132, 231, CGE, GCE, CGE, EGC. Many other combinations are possible. Have fun, create your own exercises.
Textures - Also for Triads practice with different textures such as 1 plus 2, or C plus EG, E plus GC, G plus CE, C plus EG or 2 plus 1, CG plus E, EC plus G, GE plus C, CG plus E. Combine different textures.
Combine different permutations with different textures and the number of exercises you can create seems endless!
Staccato- Play all of the notes short, separated and detached. This gives a clearer sound and keeps notes from running into each other.
Soft- Play each note softly. This helps evenness and control.
Loud- Play each note very loud. You will have to go slower than usual. This builds strength and endurance. It also can help memory, by presenting a very strong stimulus.
of what to Practice:
slow to fast-
with the metronome at a fairly slow tempo. Play the section at this tempo until
you can do it, then move the metronome up a notch and repeat the process. Keep
doing this until you reach the tempo that you are supposed to be playing at.
with and without Pedal-
your playing often. Then every few months, you can listen to your recordings and
hear your progress. You will be amazed at the progress you make in a few months
or a few years time.
can hear and judge your own playing instead of relying on somebody else to do
The piano is a musical instrument not a
people spend too much time practicing just to hit the correct notes at the right
time, and too little time deciding what kind of sound those notes are going to
forget to consider
Practicing with your eyes closed allows you to turn off one of your senses, thus, increasing your awareness of touch and sound. This will help with physical memory as well as make you listen more carefully.
music is about knowing the music inside and out.
Once a piece of music is memorized the music comes from within, not from
the page. You are no longer just reading the notes.
types of memory
Sometimes the use of a practice chart helps to motivate a student to play at home more. Charts also help to keep track of things such as what has been practiced and what needs more practice, and how much time has been spent on each item.
The Do's and Don'ts of practice
provide a quiet environment to practice.
practice in a space with noise and distractions.
plan a specific time to practice each day.
cram all practice in the last day before a lesson.
practice slowly and accurately.
rush, or play and practice sloppy.
Do practice to work out any mistakes or errors.
mistakes, repetition reinforces them, thus makes it more difficult to get rid of
once a song is learned, play it for someone, share it with someone. Have fun
Don't discard the songs that have been learned, after all of that work, the music and individual accomplishments must be shared with others.Aim to achieve small goals in your daily practice.