A musician friend once told me that people practice to play piano but that it often feels like they’re playing to practice. He meant that progress for many people can be so slow and a sense of accomplishment so far off that playing piano becomes a chore.
You need to see piano practice in a new light by constantly moving into new territory. Practicing the same tunes until they’re perfect is boring and unnecessary. You will become better faster if you challenge yourself to play what you can’t play rather than what you already can play.
Proper structured practice going into new territory will accelerate your learning.
First of all, work out your goals. Do you just want to know all your chords without thinking about how they are formed? Maybe you want to learn about inversions or chord substitution: Make the practice fit the goal.
Divide your practice session into two halves: Practice the difficult things in the first half while your attention is at its best then relax in the second half with familiar but still challenging and enjoyable pieces.
Be physically comfortable with a proper stool set at the right height: Don’t risk a bad back: Students often neglect their posture when they go into the zone of practice for a long time. Make sure that your piano is in tune and if you’re serious make sure that your piano is a good one.
Stretch your arms and shoulders and roll your neck to combat stiffness every twenty-minutes or so. Check out the Five Tibetan Rites as a really good all round yoga practice.
When you come across a difficult piece apply the 3 X daily rule: Practice it at least three times a day until you master it. Repetition is key to effective practice. Some people are naturally gifted, the rest of us get there through practice.
Practice somewhere and at a time when you won’t disturb others. You’re going to make lots of mistakes playing the same thing over and again, and that can be trying for neighbours.
Try playing with your eyes closed because this brings proprioception to bear – your body’s sense of where it is in space – another modality to hone practice. Playing with your eyes closed really sharpens you up.
Understand that committing to practice means setting aside time. Don’t fall into the trap of “not being able to find time” to practice when really you didn’t schedule time to practice. How long you should practice depends on what you want to achieve. Some days are going to be better than others. Some days you’ll feel like you’ve started all over again, unable to get your fingers to work right: Just walk away and try again tomorrow. Maybe you need to actively relax in a moment like that; something else in your life is impinging on your piano practice.
So remember that ‘playing’ piano and ‘practicing’ piano are different. Which do you do? Aim for a bit of both.
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Bob Bowen, Arkansas
“Why piano is not usually explained in the manner that Pianoforall teaches is completely beyond me!”
John Cheeseman, DeWitt, MI, USA
“Robin: I received the CD Rom and have been following the course for over a month now. I just wanted to write and tell you that your course exceeded my expectations. I have purchased home piano courses in the past, but could never seen to make any real progress. The lessons were either too complicated right from the start that I got frustrated and quit or there was too much theory and not enough actual playing music.
Then, I decided to give your course a try. Is it possible to have fun while practicing the piano. The answer in this case is yes. The video’s are easy to follow and each lesson presents something new, but builds on the previous skills you have learned. You still have to practice, but the practice is fun. The lessons allow you to play and hear recognizable rhythms, while at the same time you are learning chords and music theory: a great way to learn! I actually look forward to practice every day.”
David Petraccoro, Barnegat, New Jersey, USA
“Hi Robin, just a quick note, this is david from barnegat, new jersey i started your course about three months ago, i am on book 3 and still think the course is just great. books 1 and 2 were just the best, i really look forward to sitting down at the piano now, and just have fun the licks and songs you use are just what i am looking for. i am 59 years young and grew up with all those tunes. keep up the great work and i will stay in touch, thanks again, david.
Tommy, NYC, USA
Hey Robin we have spoke a while back about your course..I started on book one and it is awesome.. I play acoustic guitar and sing but i am so excited to play piano now, and it so easy to create chord progressions with your method that the second day already im playing let it be progression…what is your suggestion should i just follow each page and dont move on till i master each page? Thanks..it was a blessing finding you, music is my life.
Regs, Adrian Pote, Ipswich, England
Robin, I am halfway through the first book. Its a brilliant course which suits the way I wanted to learn perfectly. I will certainly recommend it. I am learning lots and having fun in the process.
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