- Listen to great music, piano music, music in the style of your program. Over time you will begin to recognise the difference between good, great, and indifferent playing.
- Practice technique using a metronome. If this is difficult; start by playing the scale in whole notes with the metronome playing in quarter notes. Count aloud. When this stabilises play in half notes, then quarter, and finally 8th notes. Counting aloud the entire time. This step may take some patient work over a week or two.
- Listen to professional recordings of your program before practicing. You need the intimate familiarity of the music to the same degree we all know happy birthday. You want to easily know when an error occurs in practice.
- Work daily on the sight-reading book exercise, pencil in hand, answering all questions. The text is the lesson.
- If you ear testing is weak, use the online service. Codes are in inside the back cover of the sight reading book.
- Self assess your progress by recording yourself playing your program. Note in the score on playback where the trouble bits are found. Start practicing there. Playing the pieces top to bottom before they are completed is a waste of time.
- Do some more listening to great music.
- Back to the theory book. The pillars of music learning are aural skills, sight-reading skills, and theory knowledge. Excelling in these 3 areas will build your confidence and put a bounce in your step.
- Back to technique.
- Finally, intersperse other pieces you enjoy playing into your practice time for 2 reasons. One, to remind yourself you really can play the piano. Two, playing time, clocking the hours. The 10,000-hour rule has been heavily criticized by folks more knowledgeable than me, but it still gives us a good benchmark. The steps above respond to those criticisms: Hours are fine, but how you spend your hours is more important.