1.Practicing solely by the clock
Imagine playing a piece over and over for countless hours and not getting any better. This is a common mistake and source of frustration for amateur pianists who set time goals without focusing on the correct ways to improve during practice. Time goals are only useful in congruence with detailed directions on how to take your playing to the next level. With the help of a teacher, your playing and practice habits should be evaluated to promote regular growth. Feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment by the end of each practice session is something that helps pianists develop a life long love of practice.
2.Always practicing from the beginning
Pianists who make mistakes in the middle of a piece, and constantly start all the way from the beginning, are simply avoiding the spots that need the most practice. Strong pianists are able to pinpoint the difficulty in the piece and practice from many different places. Going directly to the source of the mistake or challenge will result in mastering pieces in less than half the time it would take by always starting from the beginning.
3.Practicing too fast
Pianists who practice too fast tend to make more mistakes and spend more time correcting mistakes instead of making steady progress. Fast practice is often based on estimation rather than precision and results in taking a much longer to learn pieces than practicing slowly and carefully from the start. Practicing at an appropriate speed helps to develop good technique, a solid understanding of what is going on, and the ability to be musical while noticing important details that would otherwise be overlooked.
4.Practicing without dynamics
The most common complaint among fellow evaluators, competition judges, and piano teachers is lack of dynamics. All too often pianists decide to only focus on the notes first and ''leave the dynamics for last.'' Instead of focusing on just the notes every time, make a mental note of all the dynamics first. Remember that dynamics are what gives life to your music and is the difference between a mediocre and exceptional performance.
5.Practicing without good form
How you are seated at the piano, in combination with all the subtle movements that occur while playing have a major impact on the sound you will create. Practicing with appropriate positioning at the keys, as well as the necessary movements and form is essential to having an injury-free, aurally stimulating, and physically relaxing experience at the piano.
Jodi Russell, B.M.,M.M.,NCTM