Top 5 tips for practicing any musical instrument
- Have everything organized before you begin. Materials ready at hand.
- Listen to the music you are learning to play. Mark your scores.
- Record yourself as you go along. Always know why you are repeating a passage in practice.
- Auxiliary studies hold the keys to your eventual success: ear training, theory, sight-reading, score analysis.
- Bonus tip: Find a supportive enthusiastic group of fellow students to hang with, either in person or on-line.
- Repertoire retention: Review a piece from your repertoire list.
- Lesson homework
- Form analysis: What is the structure of your piece? Is is in a Baroque Dance form, sonata form, Rondo, etc. Do a little research to discover the answer. Musical form - Wikipedia
- “What’s going on here?” Mark in the articulations and dynamic plans created by professional pianists and compare. Next mark in tempi changes and fluctuations. You may be surprised with what you discover.
- Watch Youtube videos of professional performances of your repertoire and related pieces in the same genre or style. Deep listening is practicing.
- Listen to some music appreciation lectures. Suggested materials: The Great Courses
- Playing melodies in different keys. Work up to complete pieces in new keys. Start simple. Work up to level 1 pieces.
- “What’s going on here?” Mark in the articulations and dynamic plans created by professional pianists and compare. This is so important, I've listed it twice.
- Suggested materials: Perfect ear App, Music Theory Pro and RCM online ear training.
- Reading about Classical music history and checking out the recordings with scores on YouTube. Each month study a different era of music. Research a classical music history outline online and head for YouTube.
- Key signatures, intervals, transposition, scale/chord construction.
- Suggested materials: Music Theory Pro for drills, Alfred’s essential music theory is good as are the RCM theory books. But it all depends on where you are starting at. You can ask me for a recommendation based on my assessment.
- A key activity of maintaining joy at the keyboard: Playing for fun.
- Clapping rhythms with a metronome
- Suggested materials: Lower level classical piano music. If you play at level 6 (grade 6) sight read at level 4 or lower. Other options include RCM sight reading books. Again, it all depends on where you are starting at. You can ask me for a recommendation based on my assessment.
- Scales, chords, and arpeggios. I love playing these, thoughtfully, carefully, and joyfully. With and without a metronome. I listen for evenness, watching the fingering, thinking about musicality.
- The RCM syllabus has good technique lists. Conservatory Canada has even better lists.
If you would like some help, call me.