3 Secrets to effective piano practice

09/25/2013 12:01 pm

IMG_3942Let’s face it, the term “practice” has gotten a terrible rap over the years. It invokes images of hours of boring repetitive exercises that go nowhere. The truth is that in reality, the real “practice” of anything can help you become excellent in any field. And it can be far from boring. In fact, effective and smart practice can be done quickly and yield amazing results.

If you struggle with trying to make time to practice and promise yourself over and over again that this Monday you’re gonna start fresh, then these 3 practice secrets are for you. When I was in college I practiced hours and hours every day and I wish someone would have taught me how to get more out of my practice sessions. It’s like those people that tell you that they spend hours in the gym and yet you see no results. Something is obviously wrong and it has nothing to do with how much time but how effective our time is used.

Tip #1: Remove distractions when you practice

It may seem like a simple concept, but I am always amazed at how few of us put our phones on mute, shut the tv and disconnect from distraction when we are practicing. The world will not end if you miss a few texts for 30 minutes. It is so important to be focused when we do any activity that requires our attention. Just stopping a few times to check your phone not only wastes valuable time but also breaks the flow of your practice session and makes it much less effective. Put the phone down and walk away….slowly.

Tip #2: Separate your time into smaller segments

All too often, when we sit down to practice the piano, we only play the stuff we “like” and spend the entire time on one piece or song. Just like any good diet, we need to make sure we are investing some time into all areas of our playing so we become better musicians. If your practice session is 30 minutes long for example, consider doing three 10-minute segments. One for technique, another for sight reading and the last for a piece you are working on. The actual segments aren’t important but devoting some time to each aspect of playing is very important.

Tip #3: Choose music you actually like!

I have talked to so many people that stopped playing piano because they thought the music they were playing was boring. That is utter nonsense! You have to choose music you actually enjoy to play, that is basic. I’ve known many teachers make this mistake as well with their students. If we do not enjoy what we are playing, then we’ve missed the whole point of playing the in first place. There are millions of songs and works of music to choose from. Surely we can find those that bridge technique and enjoyability. I do that with my private students all the time. If someone hates classical, then guess what? We choose something else. If someone loves Broadway musicals, then that’s the music we will focus on. It’s simple yet many people miss this.

Remember that playing should be fun and even practicing should be fun too.

Now set aside some time in your schedule and get back on track. You’ll be so happy you did. For more tips and help, subscribe to our newsletter and don’t forget to share this post on your facebook and twitter. Happy playing!

Leave a comment below sharing what you do for a great practice session.