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Efficient Piano Practice

Efficient Piano Practice

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Published by: hannah-hamdan-8037 on Oct 18, 2009
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10/24/2012

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Efficient Piano Practice
10 Expert Tips
Everybody is under intense time pressurethese days, and musicians are no exception.In reply to the many requests about efficientpiano practice, here are some expert tipsthat can help you make the most of yourpractice time.1.
Get organized.
Practicing the pianoefficiently is really about how to organizeoneself to get the best results from the effortexpended. It's essential to be very clearabout our daily practice objectives. Manystudents find that writing a daily practiceplan helps them to focus on their mostimportant practice tasks and gives them afeeling of accomplishment as they completeeach one. Teachers can write plans forbeginning students so that they know exactlywhat to focus on at home.2.
Focus on one task at a time.
Disciplineyourself to complete each practice goalbefore moving on to the next. In the long run,you'll save enormous time by completing theday's work on your Mozart sonata before
 
studying Debussy, rather than bouncing backand forth between them at whim. While youmight not get that new Chopin etude note-perfect and up to tempo today, you canindeed 'finish' a given passage with musicalpolish at a slow tempo. Indeed, SviatoslavRichter's way of building his enormousrepertoire was to finish each line of musicbefore moving on to the next.3.
Only practice with full concentration!
In his autobiography, Daniel Barenboim citesthis as a fundamental rule for practicing. If your practicing does not demand enormousreserves of concentration, then you're notpracticing properly. Five minutes of concentrated practice is far more valuablethan five hours of moving your fingers whileyour mind wanders. The mind must be activeat all times, since it is first and foremost themind that must play the piano.4.
Always warm up first!
Properly warmed-up hands will allow you to accomplish thephysical tasks demanded by difficultrepertoire with greater ease and with fewererrors. I find thatscalesand arpeggios makefor the best warm-up.5.
Practice slowly.
It is a known psycho-
 
physiological fact that the brain cannotabsorb musical information in detail whenplaying fast. It is therefore essential to workslowly and carefully at all times. Never try toforce speed, as such attempts are harmfulboth to the memory and to acquiringvelocity.6.
Don't allow yourself the 'luxury' of mistakes.
Mistakes cost far too much timeto repair and only create uncertainty,whereas your practice ought to buildsecurity. Remember, your performance is adirect result of how you practice, andefficient piano practice means playingcorrectly. If you start making mistakes, itmeans either that you're going too fast tolearn the music or that your brain is tired. If that's the case, it's best to take a break anddo something -- anything -- else.7.
Practice only short passages.
The brainabsorbs musical information much morereadily when it is not overwhelmed byquantity. Each day, practice just onepassage, and practice it extremely carefullyand thoroughly. This makes for far moreefficient piano practice in the long run.8.
Schedule your practice sessions.
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