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How to master the piano quickly: 50+ proven and practical tips

 

HOW TO MASTER THE PIANO QUICKLY:

50+ PROVEN AND PRACTICAL TIPS

A Beginner’s Guide

 

A collection of over 50 actionable and newbie-friendly tips and techniques guaranteed to help you learn how to play the piano faster!

 

By Angela Reid

 

 

Copyright © 2016 by Angela Reid

Shakespir Edition

 

http://SoundsElectric.org

 

All rights reserved. No part of this eBook may be reproduced or distributed, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

 

Table of Contents

 

Introduction.. 6

Who is this eBook for?. 6

What will you learn in this eBook?. 7

Chapter 1: What you need before you practice. 8

1.      A piano or a musical keyboard.. 8

2.      A practice calendar. 8

3.      A practice journal 9

4.      A metronome. 9

5.      A recorder. 9

6.      A comfortable bench.. 10

7.      A timer. 10

8.      Sheet music. 10

9.      A pencil and eraser. 10

Chapter 2: Prepare your practice area. 11

1.      Check if your piano is tuned.. 11

2.      Clean your practice area. 11

3.      Clean your piano keys. 12

4.      Hide your gadgets from view… 12

5.      Position your keyboard properly. 12

6.      Make yourself comfortable. 13

7.      Have refreshments nearby. 13

Chapter 3: When you’re at the piano.. 14

1.      Think positive and eliminate all negative thoughts. 14

2.      Have a specific practice goal in mind. 14

3.      Know what you’re going to practice on. 15

4.      Don’t be nervous — just relax. 15

5.      Observe proper posture. 16

6.      Begin with a warm up exercise. 16

7.      Warm up with a song you play really well 17

8.      Set a time limit 17

9.      Practice slowly. 17

10.        Break it down – practice by section, by voice, or by page. 18

11.        Work on the difficult sections first 18

12.        Don’t hesitate to mark your sheet music. 18

13.        Focus, focus, and focus. 19

14.        Take breaks. 19

15.        Fix your mistakes. 19

Chapter Four: After practicing. What’s next?. 21

1.      Update your practice journal 21

2.      Clean the piano or keyboard keys. 21

3.      Seek advice if some sections are too complicated.. 22

Chapter Five: More tips and techniques. 23

1.      Practicing consistently is important. 23

2.      Make practice a priority. 24

3.      Don’t ignore your practice reminder! 24

4.      Stop procrastinating! 24

5.      Practice after every lesson.. 25

6.      Don’t forget to track your progress. 25

7.      Muscle memory. 25

8.      Ask a friend or family member to listen to you play. 26

9.      Continue to challenge yourself 26

10.        Reward yourself! 26

11.        Be very patient 27

12.        Socialize with other pianists. 27

13.        Enjoy practicing. 28

14.        Pay it forward.. 28

15.        Download useful apps on your phone or tablet 28

Chapter Six: Frequently Asked Questions About Piano Practice. 30

Final Words. 33

 

Introduction

Hi, thank you for downloading this eBook.

My name is Angela Reid and I have been a church pianist since 2005. I have been actively playing at church for more than a decade now. Before that, I also spent a good number of years practicing and ‘perfecting’ how to play piano.

My parents wanted me to learn piano when I was in grade school but I wasn’t interested then. I only wanted to play the ukulele since all the cool kids at school were in the ukulele club.

I am pretty sure though that if my parents had an eBook like this in the early 90’s, I would have learned how to play piano sooner.

They would have encouraged me to practice a whole lot more than I did (I think I practiced maybe once a month!). I also probably would have started playing the piano at church a decade earlier than I did (I truly love playing at church more than anywhere else).

 

Who is this eBook for?

This eBook is for beginners and intermediate piano learners who need some motivation and guidance on how to practice effectively. If you want to learn and perfect your piano skills, then this is a must-read for you.

Everything I’ve written comes from experience so these are tried-and-tested methods.

FACT: You’re not going to become a pianist overnight.

UNLESS you’re a prodigy…

(If you are then you probably don’t need to read this eBook anyway.)

For most mortals (yep, that’s you and me), it takes passion, dedication, and yes, a lot of time.

It’s not easy at all juggling work, studies, family, your social life, and many other time-sucking activities and commitments. I also know that practicing the piano can be the furthest thing from your mind when all you want to do is lie down in bed and sleep.

So over the years, I have adapted and perfected a system which allows me to practice piano consistently up to this day. These are the tips and techniques I have outlined in this eBook.

 

What will you learn in this eBook?

In this eBook, I will show you how you can practice no matter how tough your schedule is.

Some techniques may not be applicable for everyone but nevertheless, I guarantee all tips included in this eBook are useful and actionable tips.

Follow the tips and techniques that’s suitable for you, and before you know it, you could well be on your way to being a piano master!

Chapter 1: What you need before you practice

To make the most of your piano practice time, it is highly advisable to have access to the tools listed below to help you practice more effectively and efficiently.

 

[1.    *] *A piano or a musical keyboard

If you want to learn how to play piano, then you must have access to a piano. BUT pianos are very expensive and not everyone can afford to buy one.

Don’t worry though. Piano alternatives abound such as a portable musical keyboard or a digital piano. These won’t break the bank and you can easily transition to a real piano later on.

In my website, I list down the Top 10 Best Beginner Keyboards under $200 so you should check it out if you haven’t got a keyboard to practice on yet.

 

[2.    *] *A practice calendar

There are plenty of options for a musical calendar. You can either do it the old-fashioned way by using a physical calendar or you can use an app on your phone or tablet.

Personally, I use my Google calendar for almost everything as it syncs across all my devices.

All you have to do is just create a new calendar and label it as your Music Calendar or Practice Calendar. You can set a recurring alarm and have it send a reminder, say, 15 minutes before your practice time. Very handy app indeed!

 

[3.    *] *A practice journal

I recommend keeping a practice journal when you start practicing so you can keep track of your progress. It’s also where you can write down your goals and check off those that you’ve achieved.

You can download a free template off the Internet or you can create your own so you can customize it accordingly.

 

[4.    *] *A metronome

Metronomes are super helpful if you want to play your music at the correct pace.

Pianos don’t have built-in metronomes so you need to buy it separately. It’s not expensive and is widely available in music stores.

Most modern keyboards and digital pianos, however, have a built-in metronome so if you’re using either instrument during practice, then there’s no need to worry about buying an extra metronome.

Alternatively, there are also metronome apps available for your mobile phones and tablets.  You can easily download a free metronome app – I’ve done this plenty of times and it works just fine for me.

 

[5.    *] *A recorder

A recorder is a very useful tool when practicing piano as it allows you to record whatever it is you just practiced.

You can simply play it back to know which parts you need to practice more on until you finally perfect the entire music piece.

If you’re on the piano, then you need to purchase an external recorder. For keyboards, some models have built-in recorders while others don’t.

The good news for those whose instruments don’t have built-in recorders is you don’t have to buy a new one; you can simply use the recorder on your phone or tablet (I do this all the time).

 

[6.    *] *A comfortable bench

There are plenty of cushioned benches available so choose the one that feels nice when you sit down. It should also be the right height for you (not too high or too low).

If it’s too high, then you have to find a way to raise the keyboard. If it’s too low, you can add a few cushions or pillows to the seat to raise yourself. So the best option would be to get a bench that puts you at perfect height relative to the keyboard (more on this in Chapter 3).

 

[7.    *] *A timer

This is just an option for you if you have a tight schedule and you’re just squeezing in a few minutes of practice. You don’t need to buy a timer — you can use your phone or even your watch if it has an alarm mode.

 

[8.    *] *Sheet music

If you are learning how to read music, then you should always bring your music sheets with you, especially if that particular music is lined up for practice that day.

Actionable Tip: Use a clear book to organize the music you intend to practice on. It also helps prop up your sheet music against the music stand so it’s easier to read.

 

[9.    *] *A pencil and eraser

Use a pencil to mark your sheet music with your comments, notes, or markings. It’s very important to do this especially in tricky sections (so you know when to slow down and pay extra attention).

I prefer pencils rather than pens because it’s easier to erase — really useful when you make a mistake — so your sheet music don’t look dirty afterwards.

Chapter 2: Prepare your practice area

We all have our quirks and preferences when it comes to our practice area. But we think we can safely say that a majority of the piano-playing population would prefer a clean and comfortable environment over a dirty one.

 

[1.    *] *Check if your piano is tuned

A tuned piano sounds better than an un-tuned one. Take the time to make sure yours is tuned and ready for you to practice otherwise you could just be wasting your time.

If you’re practicing on a keyboard, then you can ignore this tip as there’s no need for you to have it tuned (this is one of the biggest advantages for electronic keyboards).

Actionable Tip: If you are not sure whether your piano needs tuning or not, seek expert help. Investing in your piano’s care and maintenance will be well worth the money once you start learning how to play the piano properly.

 

[2.    *] *Clean your practice area

This point is very important if you want to practice without being distracted by a dirty area or any loose stuff lying around, and focus 100% on your practice. I know some people don’t mind practicing in a dirty environment but I cannot stand it personally so I make sure to clean first before I practice.

Actionable tip: Clean your area before you practice and remove anything that can distract you while practicing.

 

[3.    *] *Clean your piano keys

You should also wipe your piano keys clean before you practice if you do not wish to get distracted by dirt, sweat or skin oil everytime you press on a key. Again, this is subjective but if you are like me you shouldn’t skip this tip especially if other people play on your piano or keyboard.

Actionable tip: Avoid using harsh chemicals. I normally only use a moist soft cloth to wipe down the keys. For harder to clean dirt, I mix one part water and one part rubbing alcohol, soak the cloth with it and wipe the keys gently.

 

[4.    *] *Hide your gadgets from view

We all live in a digital age where we always have our favorite gadgets nearby, whether it be a mobile phone, a tablet, or any other digital device.

When it comes to your piano practice time, put your gadgets on silent mode and out of arms’ reach to avoid being tempted to check on Facebook or Twitter every 2 minutes.

Actionable Tip: Start getting used to leaving your mobile phone or tablet in another part of the room while you practice. However, if you do use your phone or tablet as your ‘metronome’ or ‘recorder’ then you can set it to flight mode so you don’t get distracted by incoming calls, messages, emails and social media updates.

 

[5.    *] *Position your keyboard properly

A real piano weighs hundreds of pounds and is virtually unmovable unless you have a group of strong men to move it around. This needs to be something to think about when installing the piano – do you position it against the wall (meaning you face the wall) or do you like having your back against the wall?

A portable keyboard, on the other hand, is well… portable. So it’s extremely easy to move around from one part of the house to another. Some keyboards even weigh less than 10 pounds! A manageable weight even for young kids.

Actionable Tip: To keep a distraction-free practice environment, I prefer putting my keyboard against the wall so I don’t have to get distracted by any movement. If you face the room, chances are you’ll have other people passing by or you’ll find something interesting on the other side of the room.

 

[6.    *] *Make yourself comfortable

Making yourself comfortable means wearing comfortable clothing and surrounding yourself with familiar things. It also means being comfortable with the room temperature – I for one like to practice when it’s a bit cold because when it gets warm my hands tend to get clammy. I absolutely hate it when my hands sweat.

Actionable Tip: Experiment with different room temperatures until you find just the perfect temperature for you. Also, make sure to wear clothing you can relax and stretch in and generally feel at home with.

 

[7.    *] *Have refreshments nearby

I like to have water or juice nearby while I practice so I don’t have to get up and walk to the kitchen when I get thirsty. Sometimes I even have a few biscuits nearby too depending on when I last ate.

Actionable Tip: If you know you’re going to practice for quite some time and know you are going to feel hungry while practicing, then it’s best to be prepared by having some water and food nearby so you don’t take too much time away from the piano.

Chapter 3: When you’re at the piano

In this section we will discuss a few tips to maximize your piano practice time starting from when you sit down at the piano.

 

[1.    *] *Think positive and eliminate all negative thoughts.

First things first. If you are serious about learning piano, you have to chuck any negativity out of the door. If you think you are never going to learn how to play piano, then you are never going to learn. Period.

So you have to do the opposite.

You MUST condition your mind that you can play, then you CAN play.

Actionable Tip: Try to say something positive to yourself before you practice such as “I CAN DO THIS” or “YES, I CAN” just to motivate yourself.

 

[2.    *] *Have a specific practice goal in mind.

Practicing randomly without any end goal in mind is not very advisable. When studying piano, you need to have a concrete goal everytime you practice.

The trick is making sure your goal is achievable. Otherwise, you will just end up frustrating yourself.

For example, today you will work on the melody of the song and the next day you will work on the accompaniment notes. Then on the third day, you will play the melody and the accompaniment together.

Actionable Tip: I like to practice with a specific objective in mind. If I set my mind to finishing a piece of music in one practice session, then I will do my best to meet this goal.

 

3.    *] [*Know what you’re going to practice on.

If you want to practice efficiently, i.e. use your practice time wisely, you have to know WHAT you are going to practice on.

It is therefore important that you review your practice journal and the music sheet(s) you intend to practice on so you can make the most of your time.

Actionable Tip: Having a practice journal is really helpful so you can track your progress. It will also allow you to clearly see what you need to work on for each practice session.

 

4.    *] [*Don’t be nervous — just relax.

Before you even sit down at the piano or your keyboard, you have to be mentally prepared to do so.

Do whatever it is you have to do first – watch your favorite TV series, call your friends, etc. – so when practice time comes, you’re mentally and physically ready.

When you’ve sat down, take deep breaths, say a short prayer (if that works for you as it does me) and relax.

Actionable Tip: I find listening to classical music right before I practice helps me immensely as it prepares my mind and more importantly, it inspires me and makes me look forward to practicing.

 

[5.    *] *Observe proper posture

When at the piano, you have to observe proper posture so you are comfortable and relaxed at all times. If you are slouching or sitting too stiffly, you would end up with all sorts of body pains that could affect your practice time. When practicing, observe the following:

Keep your back straight. Your arms should hang relaxed from the shoulder. Your elbows should be slightly higher than the keyboard. Sit on the front half of the bench. Plant your feet firmly on the floor.

Actionable Tip: Observe the posture described above and experience wonders with your practice. Also, If your bench is too high, you should look into replacing it with a lower one just so you are at perfect height relative to the keyboard. If your bench is too low, simply add cushions to the seat until you are at correct height.

 

[6.    *] *Begin with a warm up exercise

Warm up exercises are very helpful to get your fingers, wrists and your mind ready for practice. Depending on your schedule, you can warm up for a few minutes or maybe even 30 minutes. This includes exercising on some chords, scales, and arpeggios.

Feel free to adjust your warm up exercises according to what you’re going to practice on.

Actionable Tip: Warm ups help build your finger strength. You can follow this technique to build strength for each finger:

1. Press down 5 keys using all 5 fingers in either left or right hand (one key for each finger).

2. Raise one finger at a time while keeping the other 4 fingers steady. Play each note/finger several times (I do 20x or more).

3. Repeat step 2 until all fingers have been exercised.

4. You’re now ready to start practicing!

 

[7.    *] *Warm up with a song you play really well

If you’re facing a difficult song in your practice session, try to lighten the mood by playing an easy song first to make you feel more confident. Ride on that confidence and slowly work on the difficult song until you get it right.

Actionable Tip: Keep a list of easy songs you can play at a moment’s notice on your practice journal. That way, when you need to keep your confidence level high, simply look for a song that fits your mood to help you start your practice time.

 

[8.    *] *Set a time limit

Use a timer or stopwatch if you can only practice for a set number of minutes. For example, if I’m busy writing and I need a short break, I sometimes play the piano to unwind for a bit. Setting an alarm for 20 minutes works wonders for me and gets me rejuvenated and inspired to continue writing.

Actionable Tip: I know I said to hide all gadgets from view in the previous chapter (tip no. 4), however, there are exceptions to this rule. One of these is when you need to use a timer to set a time limit when practicing under a strict timeline. However, if you’ve got a wristwatch with a built-in timer, then you can use that instead.

 

[9.    *] *Practice slowly

If you find it difficult to play music when following the correct tempo, then stop using the metronome.

Actionable Tip: When I play a new piece, I normally ‘super slow down’ the tempo until I master the entire piece. When I say ‘super slow down’, if for example, the tempo is 80, then I slow down to maybe 20 or 30. This method allows my eyes to read all notes and my fingers to get used to the pattern (this is muscle memory – more on this later). Only when I’m confident enough do I turn on the metronome and follow the proper tempo.

 

[10.                      *] [  Break it down – practice by section, by voice, or by page*]

The most common way of practicing is by playing a piece from top to bottom. However, one look at it should tell you whether it’s complicated or not. If you think you can play the song from beginning to end without any problems then feel free to do so.

Since I play in the church choir, our musical pieces have at least 4 voices for soprano (usually the melody), alto, tenor and bass. Before I play all the notes together, I usually focus on one voice until I master it. Then I move to the next voice. Then I combine the soprano and alto voices (right hand) and then the tenor and bass voices (left hand). When I am confident I have mastered these individual sections/voices, then I play both my left and right hands simultaneously.

Actionable Tip: Work on the melody of the song first, then work your way towards the other voices. Master each of these individual voices before you play all the notes together.

 

[11.                      *] [  Work on the difficult sections first*]

I prefer this method of dealing with the difficult parts first as opposed to making myself feel good by only playing the easy parts.

Overcoming the challenging part first really feels good afterwards so when you combine it with the easy parts, then you will feel a rush of satisfaction and euphoria (at least I do). Sometimes it even makes me say out loud, “Yes, I did it!”.

Actionable Tip: Identify the difficult parts in the sheet music. Don’t just eyeball it. Use your pencil to highlight these parts so you can target and work on it first. When you play the whole piece from start to end, you will notice yourself paying more attention to the highlighted parts to avoid making a mistake.

 

[12.                      *] [  Don’t hesitate to mark your sheet music*]

If there’s some particularly tricky notes in your music sheet and you want to highlight something, use your pencil to mark it. You can always erase it later on when you’ve perfected that section. Having an eraser on hand prevents your sheet music from looking like a piece of art with drawings on it.

Actionable Tip: Don’t ever forget to have your pencil and eraser nearby when you practice. It’s come in handy too many times for me to count. It helps me avoid making the same mistakes over and over and it also allows me to make the most of each practice session.

 

[13.                      *] [  Focus, focus, and focus*]

Make sure to focus on whatever it is you are practicing on. Even if you have already removed all possible sources of distraction within your practice area, your mind can still wander off. In that case, just snap yourself back into the task at hand. FOCUS! Or you’ll just end up wasting your time.

Actionable Tip: Talk to yourself. I do this all the time and it works like a charm. I talk to myself in a loud voice and shout, “FOCUS, ANGELA!” There are also other methods you can try. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works for you. 

 

[14.                      *] [  Take breaks*]

When you start feeling frustrated that you can’t seem to hit the right notes or keys, take a break to clear your head.

Alternatively, you can also take a break after you have played a piece successfully.

It depends on you really. But taking breaks are important. A change of scenery can do wonders for your piano practice.

Actionable Tip: Taking short breaks help clear your head and reduce the build-up of frustration. Be careful not to take too many breaks, however, or it could ruin your practice momentum (if you have any) or distract yourself from the task at hand.

 

[15.                      *] [  Fix your mistakes*]

Even the most expert pianists make mistakes from time to time so it’s really nothing to be ashamed of. Fixing your mistake before it becomes embedded in your muscle memory is crucial as your hands could get used to playing the wrong notes. Trust me, it will be much more difficult to correct it later on.

Actionable Tip: Don’t let yourself commit your mistakes to memory. One way of making sure this doesn’t happen is by using tip no. 12: mark the section(s) you find difficult and work on it until you get it right.

Chapter Four: After practicing. What’s next?

After you’ve done your practice, you can simply get up from your bench and then do the next activity on your calendar. Or you can follow these techniques to make the most of what you have practiced.

 

[1.    *] *Update your practice journal

After you’ve finished practicing, take the time to update your practice journal with your progress and if your daily goal had been met.

You can also write down what your goals are for the next practice session so you have a target to achieve the following day.

Actionable Tip: Always keep your practice journal nearby so you can do your updating and note taking when everything that transpired during practice is still fresh in your mind.

 

[2.    *] *Clean the piano or keyboard keys

Of course, don’t forget to clean up your practice area. Unless, somebody else does the cleaning for you.

Personally, I cannot stand to see my practice area dirty so I always make it a point to clean up afterwards.

Actionable Tip: In Chapter 2, we discussed ways on how to clean your piano keys and your practice area. It’s actually easier to clean right after you practice as it means the dirt, sweat and skin oil hasn’t had the opportunity to stick to the keys yet.

 

[3.    *] *Seek advice if some sections are too complicated

You are bound to run into this problem especially if you are teaching yourself how to play the piano. If you’ve got some sections or music concepts you’re not entirely sure about, get advice from other pianists.

Actionable Tip: You can find other pianists in your local music clubs, in online forums or social media. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask, most pianists are helpful people. :-)

 

Chapter Five: More tips and techniques

Here are several more tips which don’t fall under any of the categories above. Are these still useful? You can bet they are! So read on.

 

[1.    *] *Practicing consistently is important.

When I first started learning piano (when I started seriously getting interested, I mean), I practiced every day.

I practiced once, twice or even thrice a day, every single day. I was pretty motivated to learn and I found it addicting to be honest.

If you cannot practice everyday, try to at least have a consistent schedule such as practicing every other day or for instance every Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays. Whatever works for you. But whatever you have decided on, stick to it and follow your schedule religiously.

Actionable Tip: A practice journal would again come in handy at this point. You can even make your own practice calendar and use it in conjunction with your journal. You can print a calendar template off the Internet or use your phone’s calendar system to set an alarm so you don’t forget your practice time.

 

[2.    *] *Make practice a priority

If you make piano practice a priority in your schedule, then I promise you will see progress a lot sooner than you think.

If, for whatever reason, you miss your scheduled practice, then I highly encourage you to have a make-up session; preferably in the same day so you don’t technically miss anything.

Actionable Tip: On days when I am extremely busy, I squeeze in 10-15 minutes of practice time. To make the most of this quick practice, I only work on the most difficult sections; doing this a few times help ensure the patterns get embedded in my brain and muscle memory.

 

3.    *] [*Don’t ignore your practice reminder!

If you set an alarm to practice at 6pm everyday, then be ready to practice at 6pm (or a few minutes after that). If you ignore your alarm or reminder, chances are you may forget about it and you’ll end up neglecting your scheduled practice.

Actionable Tip: DO NOT ignore your practice reminder. After all, you set your reminder yourself. Make sure you follow your schedule.

 

4.    *] [*Stop procrastinating!

I confess I used to procrastinate a lot. Especially when I know a difficult music piece is coming up next on my practice calendar. I will try to delay and keep myself “busy” with other activities until I finally “forget” and decide not to practice. I read a lot of self-help books to help me overcome this really bad attitude. I still battle with it from time to time but for the most part I am able to control this behavior.

Actionable Tip: If you suffer from procrastination, the first thing to do is RECOGNIZE it. Then you can get help by getting advice from people who have overcome this behavior.  Finally, adopt a strategy that will work for you and help you kick this bad habit to the curb so you can practice your piano without further delaying tactics.

 

[5.    *] *Practice after every lesson

If you attend piano classes, or have a piano teacher, then this tip is for you. Practicing after every lesson will help you learn faster because whatever has been taught to you is still fresh in your mind.

Actionable Tip: Take notes during your lesson so you can anticipate and know exactly what you are going to practice on when you get home.

 

6.    *] [*Don’t forget to track your progress

If you regularly update your practice journal, then you are already tracking your progress. It’s a very rewarding feeling to see how far you’ve come and how much you’ve achieved since you started.

Actionable Tip: Make sure you update your practice journal after every practice. That’s what the journal is for, after all! When you’ve written several entries you will see just how useful and rewarding it is to know how much you have learned.

 

[7.    *] *Muscle memory

Muscle memory is simply memory through repetition. You do something often enough and your muscles will know what to do without putting too much thought into it.

This involuntary skill is useful in many different fields of sports and music. In playing piano, muscle memory plays a significant role whether you play music by ear or if you read music sheets.

In my case, I only read music (that means I can’t play by ear) and I have long determined that the more I practice a piece of music, the easier it gets for me to play it. Once I become familiar with a piece, my fingers seem to have a life on their own — they already know where they’re going to press next.

The key to making sure muscle memory helps you perfect your music is ensuring you get the sequence right. After all, if your muscles remember a faulty sequence then it could prove difficult correcting it later on as your fingers will automatically press the wrong notes or keys.

Use muscle memory to your advantage to help you play more songs better!

Actionable Tip: Practice frequently and make sure you are hitting the right notes when you practice so your brain and fingers ‘record’ the correct pattern. You will eventually find yourself playing the same sequence faster and more naturally than ever before.

 

[8.    *] *Ask a friend or family member to listen to you play.

While a recorder does a great job of letting you listen to what you practiced, and gain insight as to where you need to improve, another pair of ears may give you feedback different to yours.

Maybe you sound good enough to yourself, but another person may say you sounded off key on some notes.

Of course, hearing praise and positive comments from someone whose opinion you value is a wonderful motivation!

Actionable Tip: Don’t be shy! Talk to a friend or family member and ask them to hear you play. I personally think hearing criticism from friends and loved ones is always better (and less painful) than hearing it from strangers.

 

[9.    *] *Continue to challenge yourself

As you practice and master a variety of music, always seek to move forward and encourage yourself to learn more complicated pieces. Don’t be complacent with what you already know — always endeavor to study more and improve.

Actionable Tip: There are plenty of websites on the Internet that sell musical sheets for all kinds of music – from the classics to the most recent chart topping songs. Test yourself and impress everyone around you by playing something new!

 

[10.                      *] [  Reward yourself!*]

I find that rewarding myself after practicing a particularly difficult piece feels very satisfying. I usually treat myself to something special like my favorite ice cream or a massage.

Do the same for yourself. You’ve done the hard work – it’s time to reward yourself for a job well done!

Actionable Tip: Think of something you would love to do but rarely find the time to do so. Then use it as an inspiration when practicing. When you finally perfect the song you’ve been working on, then by all means reward yourself! You deserve it.

 

[11.                      *] [  Be very patient*]

Mastering any instrument takes time, and the piano is no different. It may take you anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to master the basics and then a few more months to start playing a song from start to finish (this would of course depend on the difficulty of the piece).

If you are determined to put in the work and the time to succeed at playing, then chances are you are going to succeed.

Actionable Tip: Everytime you start feeling frustrated, take a deep breath and remember why you are practicing. You can also try counting slowly from 1 to 10 and visualizing your goal. For example, if your goal is to play in front of thousands of people and be recognized for your musical talent, then imprint that on your mind. Recall that image whenever you feel that you’re not progressing quickly enough.

 

[12.                      *] [  Socialize with other pianists*]

Surrounding yourself with like-minded people can be a source of motivation and inspiration for you.

If there’s a piece of music that’s proving too difficult for you, you can ask them for help. If you want someone to provide positive criticism and actually give you useful suggestions on how to improve, then these friends will be more than willing to help you.

In my case, I have befriended quite a lot of church pianists and have learned so much from them over the years. In fact, some of my very best friends are pianists.

Try socializing with other pianists and see where that takes you.

Actionable Tip: The best way to socialize is still by physical interaction (for me at least) but nowadays you can easily connect with other piano students in online forums and social media. Online or offline, do not be afraid to reach out – you just might be surprised at how fast you’ll gain like-minded friends.

 

[13.                      *] [  Enjoy practicing*]

There will be instances when you will feel frustrated. That’s okay, that’s actually pretty normal. Just take a break to clear your head.

Don’t allow your frustrations to build up. Remember, mastering the piano does not happen overnight. It will take time. Just make sure you enjoy your practice time and have fun!

Actionable Tip: Make practice time enjoyable. What I usually do when I start getting bored or frustrated is I sing while playing. And what I mean by singing is actually making up some funny lyrics to make myself laugh or singing at the top of my lungs (I only do this when I know no one can hear me).

 

[14.                      *] [  Pay it forward*]

Once you’ve mastered the basics of playing the piano, you can share your knowledge with beginners to encourage them to play as well.

Mentoring a newbie is not easy but it should prove fruitful in the long run especially if you know you’ve made an impact in another pianist’s life.

Actionable Tip: You can start your own ‘piano group’ or ‘piano club’. It’s really quite enjoyable teaching people who are interested in learning. When they’ve caught up to your level, you can have intelligent discussions and share techniques and tricks.

 

[15.                      *] [  Download useful apps on your phone or tablet*]

There are plenty of music and piano apps available for both iPhones and Android phones. Some of the basic apps you should download include the metronome, a recording app, a timer, and a calendar.

There are some apps as well that allow you to ‘play’ the piano. Of course, nothing beats a physical keyboard but it’s good if you have some free time and you’re away from your piano or keyboard, and you just want to play something.

Actionable Tip: It’s quite easy downloading apps on either the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Most of the apps I’ve recommended are free – take advantage and use these to aid you in your piano practice.

Chapter Six: Frequently Asked Questions About Piano Practice

I get so many questions about piano practice all the time. I’ve listed down some questions which are not answered in the tips and techniques above:

 

Question 1: Is it necessary to enroll in piano lessons to learn how to play piano?

No, it is not necessary at all. Many people learn to play piano on their own. But if you want structured learning and someone to guide you every step of the learning process, then getting a piano teacher would be advisable.

In my case, my parents paid for a few piano lessons when I was kid but I didn’t really understand anything since I wasn’t interested. It was more than a decade later when I was finally motivated to learn. I’m proud to say I learned how to play on my own (take note this was before YouTube).

 

Question 2: What if I don’t have a piano teacher?

If you don’t have a piano teacher and you do not know what you’re going to practice on, then you had better find a trusted source who can teach you.

One on one piano lessons are expensive and not everyone has money to spend on it.

Fortunately, there are many alternative options nowadays which you can trust to point you in the right direction of learning. There’s online piano courses, books, magazines, instructional videos on YouTube and so much more.

You can also check my review on a few online piano courses which you can [+ read here+].

 

Question 3: Do I really have to practice everyday?

Well, not really but it is highly advisable. If you don’t have time to fit in a quick piano practice in your hectic schedule, then that’s fine.

You can always choose to have a make-up practice session for every missed practice schedule so you continue to learn and improve.

Just remember that the more often you practice, the faster you can expect to learn. This is why daily practice is recommended. It does take time and commitment to succeed in this musical endeavor.

 

Question 4: How long do I need to practice per session?

Your schedule will ultimately depend on you. Try to experiment with different practice lengths and see which one works for you best.

Practicing too short a time may be detrimental to your progress, and forcing yourself to practice for several hours can be physically exhausting.

Take note I used the word ‘forcing’. It can be easy to get lost in the music and I myself have practiced for a quite a few hours. My longest practice time is 3 hours (with short breaks of course).

 

Question 5: What kind of music should I play?

You should definitely practice songs that appeal to you. If you don’t want to play classical music, that’s totally up to you. If you only want to play modern songs, then that’s fine as well. Playing music you like will greatly motivate you to learn than playing something you don’t like at all.

The advantage with knowing how to play music from different genres makes you a well-rounded pianist. So it should be something you should look forward to in the future.

 

Question 6: When’s the best time to practice?

Personally, I prefer to practice at night when everything’s quiet and my family’s gone to sleep. I just like the solitude and there’s nothing to disturb me.

Some people, however, are more productive during mornings or afternoons.

It would be best to practice at different times of day and determine for yourself at which time you are most productive.

 

Question 7: What are the best clothes to wear during practice?

I’d say this depends on your fashion sense. But generally, I would say, wear something comfortable. Reserve the fancy clothes for when you do a recital or you perform in front of other people.

 

Question 8: How long will it take for me to become a real pianist?

It depends on how quickly you master all the concepts of playing piano. I do not want to give an exact timeframe because this will ultimately depend on you and your skills, however, most pianists I know got to professional level by practicing for at least a few years. My advice would be not to think about the time. Think of the fun you will have and the number of songs you will learn to master over the years!

 

Final Words

Thank you for reading my eBook.

As I said in the beginning, learning how to play the piano takes time. Invest in the time, the instrument and the guide/teacher to make your time worthwhile and to help you learn faster. It will all be worth it when you finally learn how to play like a real piano expert.

If you would like to get in touch, do contact me at my website: http://SoundsElectric.org. I will be happy to hear from you.

—Angela Reid.

 

 

                                                           


How to master the piano quickly: 50+ proven and practical tips

  • ISBN: 9781370911509
  • Author: Angela Reid
  • Published: 2016-09-22 16:05:19
  • Words: 7334
How to master the piano quickly: 50+ proven and practical tips How to master the piano quickly: 50+ proven and practical tips