The ebb and flow of piano practice

Background with waves. Vector illustration.
Practicing the piano can be like going with the ocean tides. Swimming at a higher tide is very different than swimming at low tide. And as any beachgoer will tell you, it’s important to know how to adjust to each one.

It’s the same with practicing the piano. Sometimes we’re so energized and inspired that we simply sit down and practice for hours. We move from one piece to the next and don’t think about anything else. It’s fun. This is “high tide.” At times like this, we don’t need a practice plan. We improve just from “being there.” And we think it’s going to last forever as the big waves keep coming in.

But it doesn’t last forever. The waves subside. Our child-like enthusiasm is fading into a distant memory and we find that we’re not staying at the piano quite as long anymore. Let’s call this “low tide.”

But again, as any beachgoer will tell you, low tide is wonderful. You can sunbathe, play frisbee in the sand, and wade out far into the water to go for a relaxed swim. After all, don’t want those big waves crashing into you all the time, do we? Of course not. We want both. We need both. Ebb and flow.

At these times, you need to make a piano practice plan. Figure out how much time you want to spend practicing and divide it into sections. Then make a list of your musical goals and portion them out. Practice scales for 15 minutes. Then memorize a new song. Work on your jazz chord voicings in a new key, like F# major. Let this be your inspiration at low tide. It’s enjoyable in a different way.

Buckle down, do this, and you’ll see vast improvement with your playing. And then, when the tide comes in again, get ready to ride that big wave again!

Here’s a little more for you on how to make a Piano Practice Routine.

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