Piano Tips – Tips and Tricks for New Piano Players
As humans, we often aspire to be better in one, or many, elements of our lives. For piano players, there is no difference—whether a beginner or advanced player—we continuously set our sights on the next challenge. Most of us tend to be ambitious when setting our sights on new goals, however we often become disenchanted when our progress is slow. In an age of instant gratification, learning challenging and new things can be tough. Piano playing is no different as patience and diligence are at the forefront of learning to play the piano.
This article will highlight the best piano tips and tricks to employ on your journey in becoming a better piano player and will also include some useful piano practice tips. Just remember that, in life, it is never too late to pick up something new and give it your all. It just might be the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done!
8 Great Piano Tips – From Piano Practice Tips to Relaxed Playing
1. Adequate Piano Practice:
This one might be a no-brainer, but nonetheless, what you put into your piano practice is undoubtedly what you get out of it. Having adequate time to practice everyday is crucial in your goal of becoming a better player. Try to block out one hour of practice time per day. This can be tough with busy schedules, so try 20 minute practices 3 times a day, or two 30 minute practices. The main thing is that you allow yourself enough time to become proficient with every new song endeavour. The more practice time you allow yourself (i.e. longer practice times on the weekends), the faster you will learn!
In the beginning, it can be helpful to count your timing out loud. Each new song you learn may have a different time signature (ex. 4/4, 3/4, 6/8, etc.), observe this as it will ensure that the song you play actually sounds like the song you want to play. For new learners, it can sometimes be a challenge to stay on beat so count along in the beginning according to the time signature while you practice. This can be helpful because it helps you determine how quickly or slowly notes should be played within a new piece.
3. Listen then Play:
In conjunction with the above tip of staying on beat, it is also highly useful to listen to the song you are attempting before playing it. For example, if you are starting a new piece, you can google search for videos and songs to hear how it sounds before you attempt it. This can help a lot when it comes to recognizing your own mistakes and will lead to quicker improvement since you will notice these mistakes before they become a habit. This is also a useful tip because it teaches you to identify the emotion the piece is giving off which you, in turn, will attempt to mimic.
4. Sight Reading Piano (a prima vista):
Sight Reading is the reading and playing of a piece of music that you have never seen before. Piano teachers rate sight reading as a very important skill! As you get better at sight reading, many other elements of note reading and music notation become easier over time. Therefor, it is important to include sight reading in your practice. While sight reading, you look at the piece for few moments to determine hand position and starting notes, then you start playing. While playing, do not worry about mistakes, the goal is just to get through it with whatever accuracy you can manage. Incorporating this technique into your practice will help you become more adept while learning new pieces in the future.
5. Don’t Sweat the Mistakes:
When learning to play piano, mistakes are just part of the process, so don’t let them get you down! Pay close attention to areas in which you are making mistakes, take note, and work on these sections more. It is important not to see mistakes as a burden, but more like a milestone.
6. Split Hands:
When learning something new and challenging, it can often be hard to play the left and right hand simultaneously at first. A great method of overcoming this anxiety is to begin practice in the left hand then switch to the right hand. When you can play both hands adequately, then you can try them together. This method is foolproof as it gives you time to recognize what is going on in both hands before the messy first attempt of hands together. It will also enable you to identify sections of the song that will need more hands together practice.
7. Fast Tempo:
Many players will have difficulty when the tempo of a piece is very fast. It is important not to rush the process. Begin practicing with a slower tempo, then increase the speed as you begin to feel more comfortable with the progressions. If you first learn how to play it accurately in a slow tempo, you should be able to slowly increase the speed and maintain that accuracy.
8. Learn your Piano Scales:
Although tedious at times and in some keys, scales are really the cornerstone of learning to play faster with fewer mistakes. Scales improve your dexterity, help your fingers ‘get to know’ the piano, and help you learn your key signatures. Knowing what key you’re in when you start a new song will ensure that your fingers automatically know the sharps and flats you’ll be playing within the song so that you don’t have to think about it as much. Work on scales as part of your warm up, play them a couple times and move on.
Incorporating the above piano tips into your practice schedule will have you mastering that new song in no time…And finally, a reminder to pianists of all levels: playing the piano is not just about hitting the right notes at the right time, it’s about expression. Piano, and really any instrument, is a tool to express emotion, thought, and feeling. If you play with emotion, even imperfectly, you will sound better than the best player who plays correctly but with no feeling. Make your practices enjoyable and find the joy within the music as it is really an endeavour of the heart.
9. See Also
You can find some great resources online for piano tips. Youtube, as an example, can be very helpful. Check out this video on piano practice tips.