Piano/Piano Practice

Piano PracticeEdit

Piano practice is an important aspect of piano playing. Piano pedagogues have several theories on the best way to implement and encourage students to practice. Resources are available for students to chart the time spent in practicing.

Teachers dictate varying amounts of time required for students of different levels of skill. For example, a beginning student may be required to practice 20 minutes a day while an advanced student may practice over an hour a day. A common approach in a practice session is:

  1. warm-up - scales, arpeggios, chord progressions;
  2. work sections of pieces gradually expanding to include before and after the trouble spot - rhythms, fingerings, and/or notes that need to be drilled;
  3. work entire pieces - consistent tempo, accurate dynamics and touch, etc.

The metronome is a useful tool in piano practice sessions. Students need to have ready access to their own piano - having to travel somewhere to practice often provides an unnecessary hurdle for some students.

How to practiceEdit

At first, you can play some of your finished pieces. You learn to play your pieces without warming up (which is a skill surprisingly easily cultivated) and warm up at the same time! But let's go to the real practising.

Find the most difficult bars of your piece. These bars almost always have all the technique you need in order to play the piece. Then you should practice them hands separate. This allows you to speed up music quickly so you can practice the correct technique earlier and thus save time. In slow play, you can play with all kinds of unnecessary movements, but in fast playing you simply don't have time to do them! Hand separate practice also allows resting your tired hand, but always play slowly (about 75% of the speed) after changing hands. It cleans you from the bad habits you just learned practising fast. You should do hands separate pratice only when you can't play hands together adequately, except in contrapuntal music.

A good method to join hands together (but not the only) is following:

Play the more difficult hand. Then repeat with the first note of the other hand. Then repeat with the first two notes etc. You almost never get stuck with this method. But don't choose too large sections, otherwise you waste your time.

The other way is to outline the piece. Forget about anything other than the bass and melody (but keep the fingering same) and gradually fill the piece with other notes

Choose overlapping sections and practice the most difficult. Ideally they should be small enough to be learned in 20 minutes, but if you learn them after 30 minutes or 10 minutes, don't worry. Also memorize them. After that, forget about it until next day. You can choose another section or piece.

If your sections overlap, joining them together will be easy. If you get this far, congratulations! You can now start to make music. But the text above is just peak of an iceberg. Answering to the more specific problems need more specific questions. The is the cure for the problems in rhythm, rhythm variations short-long and long short are answer to the uneven sounding passages and so on.

Sources:Edit

There is a Web-Book available: "Fundamentals of Piano Practice" by Chuan C. Chang. His method is based on 5 major concepts: Hand Separate Practice, Segmental Practice, Parallel Sets, Memorization, and Mental Play.

The text of this book shall be available to hear as a podcast. On iTunes it the id=204337730.

For a web essay on Piano Technique, see:

"Principles of Piano Technique"

Last modified on 15 May 2011, at 14:05