Piano Practice Guide: 7 Effective Practice Tips For Beginners
Rose Park 12/6/21 • 4 min read
What are the easiest and most effective ways to practice piano – and most importantly, enjoyably?
Because you are new to piano, practicing piano shouldn’t be a chore or make you stressed.
The following 7 super tips will help you figure out and build your own practice routine – a successful piano practice session.
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Save 20 minutes For Practice Per Session
Let’s set the practice session for at least 20 minutes first. Consistency is key to building a successful piano practice routine. The more you practice piano on a regular basis the better.
If you want to increase the practice time over time, try breaking your practice into certain time intervals, just like adding jogging time gradually over time. Start adding 10 minutes or 20 minutes to your current practice session, then keep it for some time to make it yours.
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Warm Up Your Hand Muscles
Warm up helps your hands and fingers move better and play piano smoothly. Stretch and massage your hands and fingers. If you have warm up exercise materials such as scales and arpeggios, this is the perfect time to play it.
Try spreading your hand on the keyboard and see how many white keys you can reach from the thumb to the pinkie. Then, warm up your hands the way I mentioned above. Now, try spreading the hand again and count how many keys your hand covers. Surprised? Do you feel that your hand spreads out and stretches better?
Break The Music Into Small Sections
Do you often find yourself practicing the entire music from the first measure to the end? Instead of practicing the entire piece, break it down and group them into sections. The reason for breaking down into manageable sections is to shorten your learning time.
The more you repeat practicing the smaller sections, you’ll experience making less mistakes overall.
In this example, try breaking the piece into three sections by rows. First, practice the first row until you understand and feel comfortable playing it.
Then, practice the second row just the way you did with the first row. You’ll notice that there are more notes than it was in the first row. In this case, practice the first two measures (measure 3 and 4) a couple of times and then combine the remaining measures (measure 5 and 6).
The last row has even more notes. In this case, I would recommend learning the measures separately and then add one measure each.
Once you’re done learning each row, try practicing two rows at once. Play any two consequent rows and get familiar with longer phrases. Make sure you also practice running through several times in the end.
Note that it doesn’t really matter how many times you practice the individual rows because everyone has a different skill set, mindset and learning speed.
Repeat Practicing Small Section
Repetition is what makes your finger muscles remember a variety of patterns. This includes patterns of rhythm and interval between notes and many other essential musical elements of the music. This is why it’s good to practice a small section at least 4 to 5 times instead of playing the whole music from the start.
Note that you can always change how many times you want to repeat practicing the section. If you feel comfortable playing section A, for example, just move to section B and play it several times until you are confident.
Listen To Recordings Of The Piece
Through listening to recordings, you can illustrate the general sound of the music you’re working on. Recordings will help you get a clear image on the tempo and the atmosphere of the music.
You can listen to the recording before and after practicing piano or anytime you feel like listening. I would recommend listening to a variety of music which will not only widen your music repertoire but it also improves your listening skills. Try thinking about the harmonies, rhythms and meters while listening to music.
Practice Piano With Hands Separately
More often than not, mistakes happen in the left hand (if you’re right handed), so make sure that both of your hands know what they’re playing on their own.
Try practicing your dominant hand first only. Then try with the non-dominant hand only but with more repetition. Now, play the music with both hands. How does it feel? Do you feel your hands play better and fluidly?
Practice Piano At Different Tempos
You may have heard from your piano teacher that slow practice ensures accuracy in playing piano. Slow practicing helps you understand and learn the correct markings, rhythms, fingerings and notes in the score. It also gives you enough time to think and prepare for the next measure.
Another effective tip I recommend is to practice piano at a variety of tempos. Once you get familiar with the music and are able to play it partially from memory, the next thing you should do is to explore different tempos.
Try practicing at the original tempo and then go back to slow practicing. Practicing primarily at a fast tempo isn’t common unless your piano teacher is okay with it.
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