"How much should I practice?"
It depends on how good you want to be is the short answer. A thoughtful answer takes a little longer.
Realistic Goals: Are your goals in tune with the rest of your life? What would you give up to reach them? Piano takes time, lots of it. For example to complete my ARCT in 2007, I started Grade 10 in 2003. Five thousand hours later I graduated! (This 5,000 hours included my theory studies as well as my piano lessons.) I gave up the music business to do this.
If you goals are more modest, aim for 2 hours a week of practice to start. Without practice, piano is no fun! The caveat is this. If you are a recreational piano student with the goals of learning some tunes and having some fun, skipping practice is no big deal. We can do it together at lessons, I will supervise.
Whatever the depth of your ambition, I suggest strongly that you schedule piano practice into your schedule.
On the subject of practice, another blog post for that.
What do I do with the blues scales?
Many Students learn to play blues scales in the normal course of learning an instrument. The question often arises: What do I do with them?
Nothing, unless you want to learn to play the blues. To use the blues scales a student needs to listen to and enjoy blues music! Otherwise they have just learned some interesting sounds from an unknown language! Similar to learning a few words in a language you have never heard or will ever experience. A wasted exercise.
On the other hand let's explore some options on learning a new type of music.
The Teacher Takes A Lesson
This fall I've resumed my piano coaching sessions with Leon Karan. We are doing great work together. Weekly lessons are a motivation to practice and stay sharp.
My progress is slow and steady. Maybe too slow though. Leon suggested gently that I practice more this week than last. Ouch!
Message received. I will be a the piano bright and early tomorrow for 90 minutes. I've booked time on Thursday and Friday as well.
You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
I'm a professional pianist and music educator in West Toronto Ontario. I'm also a devoted percussionist and drum teacher.