- I really wanted to improve
- I practice with a metronome
- I listen to great players
- I practice a lot
- I practice my scales and stuff
|David Story West End Toronto Piano Teacher||
A former student came by today of a lesson after a one-year absence. He played some stride piano. He sounded so much better than I remember. So, I start asking some questions about what he has been up to in the practice room.
Expert musicians know what they are doing. With patience and methodical practice we can all realise our potential.
Skilled musicians have worked on and mastered, to various degrees, the following four quadrants of piano study.
Call now for the fall of 2018. Most days are now sold out.
Who has all the time in the world?
A sampling: Click above for the entire article:
The "A" Student - An Outstanding Student
Getting ready for a new year of practicing? Me too.
· The key to musical happiness is regular practice and having clear easily articulated goals. As business and time management Guru Brian Tracy says, “Clarity is the key”. To which I’d add: plan your life around your practice schedule.
· Write down your goals. Do they align with time available? Are the people you live with onside?
· Motivation problems can often be assuaged with a concert trip to hear a world class musician perform.
· Get the piano tuned.
· Try a good cardio workout to inspire, think clearer, and focus well.
· Have a written practice plan for each session.
Books I’ve found helpful in the last year
· “Time Power” by Brian Tracy, I read and reread this book at least twice a year. The ideas really work, if you implement them.
· “The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life” by Timothy Ferris, an inspiring book on adult learning, hilarious too.
· “International Piano” magazine, a monthly magazine from the UK on learning the piano.
Books I plan to read shortly
· “Practice Perfect” by Doug Lemov
· “Famous Pianists and Their Technique” by Reginald R. Gerig
All books available on-line from your favourite reseller.
The idea is to conect technique and drills with the music at hand.
1. Use a metronome.
2. Practice in small chunks.
3. Play your scales , chords and arpeggios in a focused musical fashion by varying the rhythm, dynamics, articulations and balance between the hands.
4. The greatest shortcut is "Bench time". In other words, more practicing.
5. Never ignore correct fingering.
6. Posture and hand position are important.
7. Be aware of your breathing.
8. Listening to music away from the piano. Try to identify the form, dynamics, articulations in professional performances. It really will help you to play more musically.
9. Record your practicing.
10. Enjoy the journey.
Most neglected and overlooked by students
4. Connecting theory with the music
5. Slow practice
Dave' top four activities in his drum practicing
1. Ear training
2. Slow practice
3. Bench time
The Royal Conservatory of Music published a summary of studies on the benefits of music study in childhood development.
"A WEALTH OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH over
the last decade is proving that music education
is a powerful tool for attaining children’s full
intellectual, social, and creative potential.
l It speeds the development of speech and
l It trains children to focus their attention
for sustained periods
l It helps children gain a sense of empathy
Music study requires a high degree of precision
in auditory processing: being almost in tune
is not good enough. This means that musically
trained children are better able to distinguish
subtle details of speech, leading to improved
reading, better comprehension, and also a
greater ability to interpret what other people
– children and adults – are really saying. "
Here is the link to the full text. I think it is worth the read.
Your Child’s Development:Music Study may be the Best Tool
"Without a sound you have nothing?" Glen Hall
What does this mean? Playing simply with good tone and beautiful phrasing is more important that playing fast, playing loud, or trying to play above your level.
Artistry is possible for beginners who understand this.
An ideal student knows exactly what they want and why they want it. They have set time and resources aside to accomplish it.
An ideal student has read and respects studio policies.
Happy Student + Happy Teacher = Success
1. Communicate with your teacher your goals and aspirations.
2. Do your homework, consider that the so called boring bits are the important bits. I know, I take drum lessons. The new teacher is trying to get me to play quarter notes properly with the good tone and arm motion. This is requiring hours of concentrated effort. But, the musicians I play with can hear the difference already.
3. Participate in recitals. Everyone needs positive, self esteem building events.
4. Explore music outside of lessons: Sight read, attend concerts, listen to music, buy a music magazine, watch Youtube videos, attend a summer camp. (I'm going to Louisville Kentucky and Oxford England this summer for music training in both drumming and classical music).
5. Read Time Power by Brian Tracy. The best book on time management I know. Amy Chua's books are an interesting read for both parents and mature music students.
6. Remember musicians live to practice, performance is just the icing on the cake.
Piano Teacher and drumming enthusiast.
I'm a professional pianist and music educator in West Toronto Ontario. I'm also a devoted student of the drums.