Everyone knows the popular saying that ‘practise makes perfect,’ and many pianists worldwide passionately apply this rule to improve their playing skills. Research reveals that professional pianists can practice for up to 5 hours everyday. However, practice quality is more important than the amount of time spent practising, as you can spend several hours behind the keyboard without actually improving. So whether you want to start a career in music or love playing the piano as a creative hobby, you need to nail your practice routines to improve your play and make progress.The following tips will help you achieve your desired outcome.
- Set a specific goal for every practice session
Decide what you want to achieve with each practice session, and make it something you can measure. For example, you may want to master a particular composition, improve finger flexibility, or nail your chords. That should give you a goal to work towards during your practice so you don’t waste time. Next, decide how much time (or practice sessions) you’ll need to achieve that goal and create space in your schedule. You also need to ensure your practice goal is realistic and achievable.
- Sit with good posture
Believe it or not, your sitting posture can affect how well you practice and your learning progress. For example, if you slouch behind your piano or are too close to it, playing will be uncomfortable and difficult, meaning you’ll hardly make progress. Sit with good posture, ensuring your forearms are always level with your keyboard. Also, your bench should be far back enough to create enough space between your body and the piano when you need to stand up. It would help if you also sat at the front half of the bench instead of sliding back. If you’re practicing on an organ keyboard, consider purchasing an adjustable or folding keyboard stand and other music gear to improve your posture.
- Always start with warm-up routines
Just like warming up your muscles before working out in a gym, your finger muscles also need a little warm-up before your practice session starts. Spend a few minutes playing chords, scales, and arpeggios to ‘lubricate’ your fingers and wrists before jumping on the more demanding routines. Beyond warming your fingers up, chords, scales, and arpeggios will also improve your technique, strengthen your fingers, and teach you some basic music theory.
- Take a long break after 30 minutes
Thirty minutes is reasonable enough to sit behind your keyboard and practice without getting up. After 30 minutes, you need to take a break and return later (if you want to). Even professional musicians who play for hours daily do not sit behind the keyboard without taking breaks. Of course, some people can practice for more than 30 minutes without getting mentally tired. And it’s possible to lose track of time, especially when you’re enjoying your practice. So, your cue to take a break is when you start feeling mentally tired.
- Avoid starting each session at the beginning
While it’s fun to start each session from the beginning and breeze through your notes, it may not be helpful if you want to progress. Any time you start a session from the beginning, you only end up mastering the beginning before the time is up. That means you won’t have enough time to try harder routines unless you extend your practice time, which can lead to fatigue. If you want to recap a previous session, do so after tackling your new routine.