If you want to play piano better, you need to do two things.
First, it's very important it is to ask yourself “What change do I want to make in my piano playing?” Most people skip this step, and usually sit down to practice in a habitual way, always working on the same things in the same way. But true change comes from shaking this up a bit. So take a moment, away from the piano, and ask yourself, “What change do I want to make in my piano playing?” How do you mentally hear yourself playing in a year from now? What is the difference between what you hear in your head and what you hear when you actually play?
This is an important step, because once you know what change you want to make, then you’ll be able to practice in a more effective way.
For example, if you want to learn how to use pentatonic scales in your soloing, then you can come up with various ways of practicing them over single chords and then on complete songs. But if you want piano in general to come easier for you, then you might take the opposite approach. In this case, it would be better to use the techniques you already know and spend more time applying them to various tunes until they become “second nature.” Then you can begin again with the pentatonic scales. Most pianists practice inefficiently and so this is an important concept if you want to reach your musical goals.
Before you sit down to play piano again, take a few minutes to ask yourself “What change do I want to make in my piano playing?” And then, begin putting this change into action.
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Really like the motivation aspects of your writing Ron – I think getting you mind to focus in the right way on how to improve is half the battle. I know for my students if they simply enjoy playing then their uptake of knowledge is so much more effective than if they label “playing” as “practicing”, something they want to get done and out of the way. What are you best tips for encouraging piano students who don’t practice often to play the piano more between their lessons?
Hi Roda, and thanks for the kind words! This is a great question and important for both us as pianists and for us to be able to help our piano students. I had a few extra hours at a cafe last night so I wrote a whole blog post on this. I’ve just posted it a few minutes ago. It’s called How To Practice The Piano More. Let me know what you think!