Piano Practice Tips

 Practice as if you are the worst, perform as if you are the best.

An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.” Mahatma Gandhi

Here are a few simple steps to learn easy and fast ways to practice the piano. The most important step is not the amount of time spent on practicing but the quality of time (how well you use your practice time).

Remember to visit your piano everyday! A little bit of daily practice is much better than none at all!
Ready to get started?

* All of It versus Some of It
* Chunk It
* Bag It
* Chain It
* Record It and Play It Back

WHOLE VERSUS PART PRACTICE: A song may be practiced as a whole or it may be practiced in pieces. When you are first learning a song, often practicing one part is more effective. Later on, when mastering a piece, whole practice situations come into play more often. Don't try to learn a piece all at once; take it in sections and practice a section until you can do it without mistakes three times through. Then move on to the next section. Remember the value of taking a section slowly, making sure that you play all the notes correctly and that you count through difficult sections. Playing to tempo comes later when you have the notes and the rhythm right.

CHUNKING: Chunking practice is essentially "part practice" - taking chunks of a piece & working them out individually. Determine the chunks or parts to practice before combining chunks into the whole. Take chunks of a piece of music and work them out methodically. You will not get it right if you start out too fast. Slow down and work at your own pace. After you play it smoothly and evenly, then push your speed!

SANDWICH PRACTICE: This practice technique is used when one wants to definitely master a certain difficult section in a piece. One might chunk it many times in a single practice session, sandwiching it between compositions or practice segments. The chunk to be learned is reinforced over and over within a single day of practice, similar to looping. Remember that repetition is a good thing because you are working out all the mistakes. So, keep playing it over and over!

BACKWARDS CHAINING: Practice from the end to the beginning. Take the last step to the first in a progressive manner but in reverse order. Learn the last "chunk" or part of a song first, & then learn the next "chunk" followed by combining those two parts. Learn the third to the last section, and then combine the three sections. And so on. Many times music is written in an A B A Form or Verse Chorus Verse. A very valuable way of knowing whether you have learned a piece, is to learn it well enough that you can play either hand independently starting at any place in the music.

RECORD/PLAYBACK PRACTICE: One of the best ways for you to objectively hear where you are & what you need to do next is to tape-record & play back your performance. Then listen to the music just played and practice from the tape recording. You will discern what needs to come next in the practice from objectively listening to your own playing.
Learning a new piece of music is real hard work. I have shared info on how to practice playing written music and how to overcome being unable play a piece at first attempt
I listed 5 easy steps for a beginner just starting out and who is wondering how to go about practicing in a way that will make it more interesting and fun, especially when learning songs like O' Susannah and Camp Town Races! Piano practice was never meant to be boring! I hope these steps spice up and add flavor to your piano practice!

"Jazz washes away the dust of every day life." -- Art Blakey
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