Students who want to take piano lessons or increase their skill levels should make sure that they are equipped with the knowledge needed to do it. Learning how to play the instrument can require one to know the basics, techniques, and lessons essential for piano playing. There are instructional books and other piano lesson materials that can help aspiring pianists make their training an interesting journey.
Piano playing does not just require students to have a piano and a bench. It also necessitates making a commitment to train themselves or attend a piano class. Learning the basic lessons and practicing are two of the most essential steps that aspiring pianists need to take.
Starting a Piece
Listen to a Performance. Listening to a recording or performance is a part of piano lessons and one of the things that aspiring pianists need to do. This will not encourage them to imitate how someone else is playing. Instead, it will help them improve their overall skills and the way they play piano. Apprentices cannot simply imitate mainly because piano playing is individualistic and it usually brings out a player’s creativity. They need to listen to several recordings as it will significantly help them improve their talents and be open to new possibilities and ideas.
Structure of the Composition. It is imperative that beginners will try to analyze the composition’s structure, as it can help determine what the practice program is and how much time is needed to learn the piece. For instance, in the Fur Elise the analysis starts placing numbers on the piano music score bars. The first bar can be marked as bar 1. The first 4 full bars in Fur Elise are repeated 15 times and this means that by learning the first 4 bars, musicians will be able to play 50% of the piece.
This is an essential part of every piano lesson both for children and adults. In the continuity rule, it is important to remember the two adjacent segments that can be played together. Those who practice one segment should include the start of the following segment. This rule also applies to segments that are isolated for practice such as an entire movement, a bar or segments that are smaller than a bar.
The general explanation of the continuity rule is that all passages may be divided into short segments and these segments should overlap. This overlapping is known s the conjunction. When practicing, the few bars at the start of the second movement should be included in the end of the first movement. This makes it easy to play and start with the 2nd movement. The continuity rule can be applied to the difficult interruptions found in Fur Elise. Those who want to play some exercise using the piece can use this piano lesson rule.
Post Practice Improvement
There are two ways in which musicians can improve, and one is through learning the motions and notes. This happens when a person has techniques for certain passages. The second is post practice improvement or PPI, which results from the physiological changes that takes places once a musician acquires a new piano technique. This refers to the slow process of change that takes place over weeks or months while an apprentice takes piano lessons.
After a few days of good practice, a musician’s piano technique will continually progress. Just as long as things are done in a correct manner, apprentices can always play better the next time they sit on the bench. Cumulative learning effects over months or years can be huge.
Expert pianists suggest that students should learn practicing several things in one sitting and allow all of them to simultaneously improve. This is better than focusing on just one thing. However, it is also important to avoid over-practicing as it can lead to injury and bad habits. There should be a specific amount of time for practice and about a hundred repetitions for post practice improvement to take effect. To those who are not seeing improvements while practicing, they should not fret as it can be normal for specific passages. Apprentices who cannot see anything wrong while practicing should stop and let post practice improvement take over.This, of course, can only be made after doing enough repetitions.
One of the best rules for PPI is to play slowly at the end of every practice. It is also recommended that musicians switch hands while playing and before they do, they should also play slowly once. Doing this can significantly improve a person’s technique performance. Slow playing allows a player to relax and eliminate the bad habits carried along in playing fast. It is a great way for musicians to test whether or not they have really learned to play a piece of piano music.
The level of slowness may depend on a person’s skill level. However, it is also important to note that there is a speed limit and when musicians go beyond it, slow play’s beneficial effects can disappear. The best speed is about 1/2 to 3/4 speed. Slow play can also be very useful during memorization in about 1/2 speed.
Albeit slow play is important, it is not advisable when done repetitively with a new piece. It is important to note that when starting a piece it can be hard to determine whether the slow play motion is correct or wrong. The possibility of slow playing incorrectly can reach up to 100%.
This requires studying the various music scales and playing the ones that have plenty of sharps and flats. Students who master the scales can learn chords better and find flats and sharps or accidentals quicker. It is also best to memorize the circle of fifths prior to attempting to use colorful chords. The circle of fifths refers to the a circle that has an order of accidentals within a minor and major scale. Using the circle of fifths can make learning for scales and chords easy. For instance, those who want to determine the number of sharps in a B Major scale should begin at the top of the circle and use C, which neither has flats or sharps.
Under chord improvisation, it is also imperative that students know a variety of music chords such as triad chords and seventh chords. The former should be learned first before the latter as it is easier. Students should also add some flavor to their piano music by improvising it and also play block chords using the right hand and the melody with the left hand.
The regular practice of bad habits can significantly destroy one’s learning ability and progress. These habits can eat up so much time and cause so a lot of stress. What is even more alarming is that many of these habits are difficult to diagnose and have dangerous consequences. These habits should be identified and be avoided.
Improper Posture. Aspiring pianists should understand that having a good posture while playing the instrument is essential in speeding up their learning abilities.
Not Listening to the Music. One of the common mistakes that people do is to be overly excited during practice to the point that they no longer listen to the sounds or music from the piano. Apprentices need to listen to every sound that comes out of the piano during practice. Many students find this extremely challenging because their concentration are on their efforts in playing that they no longer have any of their attention left for listening. A great step to combat this habit is to make a recording of the performance that a student can listen to.
Weak Fingers. This is prevalent among beginners but can be corrected easily than those who bang the piano too loud. Weak fingers is a result of not releasing the arms and defying the gravity. Students who make it a habit to subconsciously lift the arms is a manifestation of stress.
Playing at the Wrong Speed. This means playing too slow or fast. It normally takes place when a performer is too excited to play that he loses his sense of tempo. There are certain factors to consider in determining the right speed such as the technical ability of the performer versus the difficulty of the piece, the expectations of the audience, the piano’s condition and many other factors. Players should learn to practice using the right speed to avoid this habit.
Poor Tone Quality. One of the main causes of this bad habit is when students don’t pay attention during practice, they don’t seem to listen and it seems that the tone does not matter. When students start to take tone for granted, they won’t know the difference in between a bad and good tone. Students should listen to good recordings to learn about the existence of good tone. They should also pay attention to the tone during practices to get great results and avoid this habit.
Stuttering. This is often caused by intermittent practice when a musician stops and repeat a section every time a mistake is committed. One lesson to learn here is that in piano playing, you don’t stop to correct mistakes as you can always play through it. Students need to make a note mentally to identify where the mistake was made. They then need to work on it while practicing.
Exercising Incorrect Practices. It is essential that students know exactly how to practice playing piano. This means knowing that the keys are not the notes and correctly using the right fingers. Students should also avoid playing the easy passages quicker than the hard passages and playing only in Major C.
Practicing Improperly. Students should understand that practicing properly is more important than just practicing. One of the best ways to do this is to do more than just moving the fingers. This means practicing holistically and as a whole person, not just with the fingers. It is also imperative that they ask themselves the right questions while practicing. For instance, instead of asking when they will be able to finish practicing, they should focus on asking how they need to get there.
To properly practice, they also need to be ready when they get tired. They should not force their brain or muscles just to achieve their goals. There is a chance that the problem is not about the frequency of practice but on how it is executed. Those who feel absolutely tired practicing should be open to the idea that it is probably the routine that makes the practice ineffective and tiring.
Another technique in practicing is to do it the way that successful professional pianists do. This however depends on whether what worked for the pianist would also work for them. For instance, pianists often practice in the morning and evening. This helps them relax during the day and avoid feeling exhausted while practicing the instrument.
One of the most important lessons in piano playing to find the many ways to improve not just knowledge but also skills as well. First, students can plan their practice sessions by knowing how the next sessions will go. This should take part of habits during the training. Another step is to simply enhance reading skills in musical notation. To do this step, students should try to understand the music notation concepts as well as the advanced musical notations.
There are many things that students can do to improve their skills. They can enhance their finger placement as well as their speed. Finger stretching exercises can be extremely helpful before they start playing the instrument. When practicing proper finger placements, students can also do it using different scales. This can be done by going down the scale and up and then vice versa for at least five times.
In piano playing, nothing is difficult just as long as students will do their best to bring out their truest potentials. Many of the legendary pianists have become very popular due to their impressive learning ability and how seriously they play the instrument.