by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
I saw an online discussion where a piano teacher shared his view that practicing piano should feel like a struggle or a difficult experience. Though I see his point that no one will get much momentum from simply playing piano for pure enjoyment during every piano practice session, I don’t agree that practicing piano must be unenjoyable.
I know from experience that practicing piano can actually be fun, can flow smoothly, and feel immensely gratifying as incremental musical progress is made.
You don’t have to feel like piano practice has to be difficult in order for you to make progress!
Rather, it's much more reasonable to know that the way you spend your piano practice leads directly (or not) to an enjoyable and fruitful experience. How to practice piano effectively is one of the most misunderstood topics for piano learners. But knowing how to practice makes all the difference in your levels of enjoyment, satisfaction, and piano progress.
These positive experiences are achieved when you approach your piano practice with clear goals and make a focused mental effort to achieve those goals. Reaching your goals will become an enormous boost to your positive feeling, self esteem, and love for music learning.
Of course, making concentrated effort itself can be a constant struggle to develop and maintain. But doing so provides the greatest progress in piano practice.
Keeping the fun in piano practice depends on the goals you and your piano teacher set, and how you challenge yourself to achieve them. The specific routes to achieve each goal is where the variety of piano practice comes into play (ha ha!). What I mean by that is there are plenty of ways to create an attitude of fun toward each piano practice goal.
You may incorporate a friendly piano competition, aiming for setting a record, making up various games, using piano or music apps for supplemental aid, and piano duets, group or masterclasses and public performance target dates.
If you’re a beginner piano player, your piano teacher should be able to break your goals down into manageable chunks for daily piano practice. As you learn to stay focused on this kind of goal-directed piano practice, you’ll eventually be able to determine your own piano practice goals.
Typically, goal-setting in piano practice hones straight in on whatever part or aspect of the music is unknown or problematic for the piano student. Troubleshooting is one of the most effective ways to attack piano progress. And of course, that’s where some may interpret the difficulty lies.
Concentrating on learning something new or challenging takes effort. But our attitude toward making the effort is where the power of fun versus drudgery makes all the difference.
If you only play things that are simple, easy and fun for you, your piano progress will stagnate. But you don’t have to be a martyr, either! Choose your most challenging goals to face at the start of your piano practice session (or immediately after a short warm-up). Give it your all.
At the end of your practice session, reward yourself by playing all the music you enjoy because you’ve already mastered it. You’ll be surprised that over time, if you consistently challenge the musical goals that force you to concentrate, think, and repeatedly practice, your reward repertoire at the end of each piano practice session will expand quickly.
Being able to play through a variety of musical works successfully is itself an incredible joy and accomplishment. But you must learn to balance the rewards of playing something that’s easier for you with the effort needed to challenge the next musical goal. That discipline is something that will naturally be forged over time if you choose your goals for each piano practice session and learn how to practice them effectively.
How to practice piano effectively is the main topic of my upcoming ebook, My Best Tips On How To Practice Piano Effectively.
If you’re a new or returning piano learner, checkout my new ebook, What You Need To Know, Have & Do To Start Piano Right!
Watch my short videos below that summarize the piano tips from my new ebook:
Tip #1 from the ebook What You Need To Know, Have & Do To Start Piano Right!
Tip #2 from the ebook What You Need To Know, Have & Do To Start Piano Right!
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My Best Tips On How To Practice Piano Part 1
My Best Tips On How To Practice Piano Part 2
My Best Tips On How To Practice Piano Part 3
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In my PIANO blogs, you'll find ways to overcome boredom, get past musical and mental blocks, explore the creative process with piano, and improve musical progress through piano teacher recommended best practices and effective piano practice tips.