Piano Practice Tips: How To Get Better

Even with everyday lessons and hands-on training, it can take years to learn how to play it correctly. 

Playing the piano is an admirable skill to possess. Most adults are thankful for their pushy mother or father compelling them to suffer through those repetitive, weekday afternoon lessons.

Although, it could be said that the parents might actually have been the ones to suffer, listening to all of those vexatious misplayed notes!

In this article, we aim to present several tips on how to get better at the piano. So if you are one of the talented assemblages of musicians who endured all those hours of practice, or you are just starting out and are curious to learn how to get better at the piano, please – read on.

Make It A Habit To Practice Daily

Sometimes finding time to practice the piano can be arduous. If you have a full-time job, a family or are currently a student at a university, squeezing in an hour or so a day may seem unattainable. However, it is not impossible!

One way to work that time in is to get out of bed an hour earlier each morning. Take this pleasantly quiet time in your day to sit at your favorite pianoforte and bang out some tunes.

Mornings are the best time to practice as your body is rested and your mind is fresh, allowing for
better retention of new information.

Optionally, if you are a night owl, staying up late to hone your technique would be your best bet, this way you can mentally prepare yourself throughout the day, plan which pieces you want to work on and manage your evening routine to ensure that there is time to finesse your craft.

Train Yourself On Difficult As Well As Easy Pieces

You probably have a set of songs in your repertoire that you have learned throughout the years.

Be sure to play these routinely to sharpen your technique. Play them over and over, to challenge yourself on these first play the piece slowly, then play it fast.

When learning how to get better at piano, repeatedly playing the most difficult compositions you know will benefit you by boosting your confidence.

Don’t Limit The Types Of Music You Play

Knowing a variety of musical genres not only makes your playing the piano more interesting, but it also makes it more fun.

Try out some Jazz pieces, attempt some Herbie Hancock, take a stab at some Harry Connick Jr, or work on learning some rock and roll, a la Jerry Lee Lewis and “Great Balls of Fire!”

Another fun style is Christmas Music; this can make you a huge hit at Christmas Parties! This brings us to the next tip on how to get better at playing the piano.

Play In Front Of An Audience

If you have never played the piano in front of anyone besides your mother or your dog, then this tip is just what you need. Playing in front of family, friends as well as strangers is one of the best methods in how to get better at piano.

Select a few easy pieces as well as some of those difficult ones you have been practicing. Put together a grouping of songs that make you comfortable.

Start out playing at the next family gathering, anniversaries, birthday parties or even that Sunday afternoon informal get-together.

Then it is time to venture out into the public. Inquire at your local mall, or other public venues, make sure they have a piano, and it might be best to go practice on it at least once before your show, this will ensure that the instrument is tuned properly and that you are comfortable with it.

This is not going to be as intimidating as a paid gig and will help to build your determination to move on to the next step. After these two steps, it is time to get serious! Seek out opportunities to play at weddings, funerals, parties, and recitals. Rehearsing for and playing at these opportunities will raise your piano playing abilities to new heights.

Record Yourself Playing The Piano

This is hands down the best way to measure your improvement. Set a video camera on a tripod and aim it at yourself. Be sure you get your entire body in the shot; you want to see your movements, your style.

Are you hunching your shoulders or sitting up straight? Are you making a straining face or do you look relaxed? These are things to study in the video.

Make audio-only recording as well. This way you can listen to the number without being distracted by watching yourself. Listen for the cadence, does it sound on a beat? Close your eyes and imagine that it is not you playing, it will be easier to review that way.

You do not have to show these to anyone else; these can be for your eyes only, for your critique only.

Watch and study other piano players, both professional and amateur, see how you compare.

Notice their unique styles, note how their personalities shine through so you not only hear the music, but you experience it with the musician as well.

Be Demanding Of Yourself

If you really want to know how to get better at piano, then you absolutely must not go easy on yourself. Push yourself. Challenge yourself. If you are having a hard time on one particular piece, don’t allow yourself to give up!

Push through it until you have it down. If you have to practice that one selection only for the entire hour, then do it. Be deliberate in your studies; you want to become seasoned in your craft. This requires real dedication and just plain old gumption. Once you feel confident in a new song, play it at a faster tempo.

If you do not already have one, get yourself a metronome. Set it just a little faster, then a little faster until you are proficient and comfortable. As well, set the metronome to a slower pace, this may prove to be even more difficult than the fast rate.

Keep Your Eye On Your Objective

Sometimes, putting the time into a hobby can easily be pushed aside. If you have had a long day, if other plans interfere, or if you just have a case of the “I don’t wanna”s, remind yourself that what you really want is to get better at the piano. That what you desire is to have that sense of self-satisfaction at performing at a higher level.

Set Goals, And Keep Them

Is there a certain reason that you wish to improve your skills on the piano? Maybe you have been asked to play at your cousin’s wedding next year. Maybe you just want to enhance your already decent musical abilities.
Regardless, pick some milestones. Do you want to be able to play Beethoven in a year or “Heart and Soul” in a month?

Write down your selected milestones. For instance: Thirty days from today I want to be able to play Für Elise without errors. Ninety days from now I want to be able to play The Marriage of Figaro effortlessly. Etc.

Consider setting smaller goals in between such as – I will practice at least six days per week this week, or even – I will practice for one hour today. Make the goals attainable but substantial enough to affect your progress positively.

Recognize That It Is A Process

You did not learn to play the piano overnight, nor will you get better at it overnight. Maintain your enthusiasm, and at the same time, be pragmatic. Understand that you will not become Liberace in a month.

You will become better and better each time you practice. If you get to a plateau and feel like you are not able to get past it, simply take a day off. Review your methods and make sure you are keeping your objective in view.

Most of all, make sure you are having fun! If an activity is no longer fun, it becomes work, and you do not want to turn your fun pastime into a work situation!

The main thing to do is practice, practice, practice. Stay positive, even if there are failures or mistakes along the way. Stay focused even if you don’t meet your goals; if you continue to practice consistently, you will get there.

Remember your childhood lessons and how hard you worked back then and be at least as vigilant now.

In Conclusion

Playing the piano should be fun and exciting. The skill of a master pianist is one of the most beautiful and encouraging sounds in music.

With practice, and these tips, you, too, can be proficient and excel at piano playing. Just stick with it.

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