September 30, 2015
Tips on How to Become a Better Piano Player
Looking To Improve Your Piano Skills?
Students of all ages can benefit from learning an instrument. If you’re trying to get better at piano, you’ve come to the right place. Below you’ll find a variety of tips and videos that will help you become a better piano player. There’s tips for beginners, for how to play scales, tips geared towards adults, and so much more. The videos feature Dr. Rod Vester, a pianist, composer, and music educator. You can find a playlist of all of Rod’s videos on Facebook or YouTube. If there’s a topic you’d like us to cover, let us know in the comments.
Becoming A Better Piano Player Takes Time and Effort
People who play the piano – whether they’re professionals or amateurs – should always be working to get better. Whether you’ve been taking piano lessons or you’re just starting out, improvement and progress are key. From improving finger strength to constantly challenging yourself, here are a few different ways you can become a better piano player.
Manage Your Practice Time
Are you only practicing when you have spare time? This could be why you haven’t seen much improvement. Practicing the piano shouldn’t be low on your list of priorities. If it’s at the bottom of the list, you should schedule some time each week to sit down and practice your instrument. Whether you practice every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 30 minutes, or every weekday for an hour, find a time and stick to it. Commitment to practice is as important to improving your abilities as finding the right teacher. If you do find yourself with extra time, tack on an extra hour to your practice routine.
Practice Sight Reading
While sitting down and practicing the same piece of music until you play it perfectly is a good way to practice, switch it up every once in awhile by throwing a random piece into the mix. When practicing your sight reading, don’t worry too much about making mistakes. Simply play the piece from start to finish to your best ability, and run through it a few more times for good measure. Not only does this type of practice improve your improvisation skills, but sight reading is essential for those who are interested in joining a band or orchestra. When you do make mistakes, don’t look at them as a disappointment or burden. If you consider mistakes a crucial part of the learning process, you’ll likely find that practicing the piano will become more enjoyable.
Does how quickly a piece is played demonstrate the true skill of a musician? While in some contexts this may be true, those who play too quickly may start to miss notes and play sloppily. If you find yourself missing notes in a particular section, don’t rush through that section as quickly as possible- pause the metronome, slow down, and practice it until you get it right. No matter how well you think you know a piece, practice it at a slower pace every three or four run-throughs. After all, if you can’t play a piece at a slowed down pace how can you ever expect to play it quickly?
Keep Challenging Yourself
This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many pianists stop challenging themselves once they’ve become semi-proficient at playing the instrument. As with any skill, you must continually challenge yourself in order to improve. If you aren’t sure which piece of music you should choose to challenge yourself, ask your instructor. They’ll know better than anyone what your strengths and weaknesses are, and they should be able to pick a piece that’s challenging but not impossible. For example, if you struggle playing with your left hand they should be able to pick a piece that focuses mostly on the left hand.
Make Sure Your Goals are Realistic
No matter what your goal is, make sure the goals you’re setting are realistic. If you’re expecting to become a genius at playing piano overnight, think again. Becoming better at any instrument requires hard work, dedication, and practice. We’re only human and, as humans, we tend to dream big. If you’re struggling to meet your goals, take a moment to re-evaluate them. Make a list and go over the list with your piano teacher. They will know whether your goals are realistic or too lofty based off of your current skill set.
Learn To Play Classical Pieces
If you’re of the mindset that “classical music is boring”, hear us out. Classical music can be technically demanding. Once you start getting into some of the more complex pieces you’ll start seeing improvements in your technical abilities. Not only does classical music give you a solid foundation, but it’ll challenge you to become a more well-rounded musician.
If you’ve never played classical music before, pieces by Bach and Chopin are a good place to start. Choose pieces that will challenge you because you won’t improve if you only play what you already know.
Practice Playing in Public
As a pianist, it’s important that you get used to playing the piano in public. Prepare yourself for the gig by putting on a rehearsal for your friends and family. Whether you play for an audience of one or one hundred, feeling comfortable during a performance is key.
Once you’re comfortable playing for your parents, invite some cousins or friends over for a recital. From there, start performing at private events, including Christmas parties, picnics, or school functions. Eventually, performing publicly won’t be a big deal and those sweaty palms will become a thing of the past.
Get A Teacher
One of the best things you can do to get better at piano is to learn from a teacher. Sign up for lessons with Music & Arts.
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