A bit of homespun advice about your piano practice:
Each practice session begin with a scale and arpeggio. Choose a different key each time. Remember to play smoothly, in time and with an even tone – these are the 3 things to look for. I appreciate this is not an attractive task (you can make it attractive and look forward to it.) However it builds strong technique. Exercises are not exactly an attractive proposition but if you want to improve then it’s a habit that needs to be cultivated. Someone once told me that to create a habit it takes 21 days, so try it… so for the next 21 days do your exercises before anything else.
When we play the piano to play we often do 2 things: a) play for pleasure, go over our favourite-of-the-moment pieces, and b) practice new ones. I can’t emphasis enough that if you want to advance and play more challenging and beautiful pieces you must spend at least 50% of your practice time working on new pieces. Call it “the 50% rule” if you like and please try it. At each practice start with exercises, then practice the new pieces, then finish off with the things you love.
Thanks to Wayne, Simon, Jessica, Charlotte and Rachel for taking part in this year’s social musical evening. Not to forget Sue and Claire who helped with the teas and cakes!
The evening was a lovely chance to play some pieces in front of other students and to make new friends. It’s always daunting to play in front of an audience, particularly other piano players but everyone played beautifully and confidently. Thanks to all, it was great fun!
When sight reading or maybe just playing a piece that you know from music, always look ahead. You should be looking at least one bar ahead all the time to anticipate what is coming, the fingering that will be needed, and seeing the structure of the music.
It’s a tough disciple to follow at first but looking ahead will pay huge dividends.
When practicing you sometimes come to a difficult section which slows you down or stops you. Instead of starting from the beginning take the difficult section and play it slowly 3 times without making a mistake. Should you make a mistake during any of the 3 times then start the 3 times again. Continue until you can play it the 3 times without making a mistake. The next day try again, and if you complete the 3 times successfully then increase the pace until you can play the section at the same speed as the rest of the piece.
The ‘game of threes’ is an excellent way to improve your concentration and accuracy. Remember that good pianists always go straight to the tricky parts of a piece and practice those first.
If you are going to perform the piece eventually then try playing the game of threes for the whole piece.