1. Prioritize QUALITY over QUANTITY when you practice.
In the world of music, it's often thought that more practice time equals more success. While it's true that regular and consistent practice is essential for skill development, the quality of your practice is far more important than the quantity. Practicing for hours on end without a clear plan or focus can lead to frustration and a lack of progress, while deliberate and focused practice in short bursts can yield excellent results.
2. STOP practicing if you keep making the same mistakes. You are LEARNING what you PRACTICE.
Consider this scenario: a pianist spends six hours a day practicing a difficult piece, but is consistently making mistakes and struggling to progress. They continue to practice this way for weeks, becoming more frustrated and fatigued with each passing day. In this case, their practice time is not leading to significant improvement and may be a waste of their efforts.
3. Practice small spots with detailed attention mindfully, VERY SLOWLY and VERY WELL.
On the other hand, consider a pianist who takes a more focused approach. They identify a specific section of a piece that they are struggling with and spend just 15 minutes each day practicing that section, focusing on precision and accuracy. Over time, they see significant improvement in that section, leading to better overall performance and progress.
4. Start from different spots - NOT JUST FROM THE BEGINNING.
The key to effective practice is deliberate focus on specific areas of improvement, rather than simply spending hours playing through a piece from start to finish. This can involve breaking down a piece into smaller sections and working on them one at a time, using a metronome to build rhythm and timing, or even practicing away from the instrument through visualization techniques.
5. Focus on making the hard parts easy by giving them the attention they require.
Spot practice, where you isolate specific sections of a piece and practice them repeatedly, can also be highly effective. For example, if a pianist struggles with a particular chord progression or passage, they can practice it repeatedly in short bursts throughout the day, gradually increasing speed and precision. This targeted approach can yield significant improvement in a short amount of time.
6. To save time : Increase how long you practice after QUALITY of PRACTICE has been established.
It's important to remember that quality of practice is far more important than quantity when it comes to piano practice. By focusing on deliberate and targeted practice, pianists can improve their skills and make progress more efficiently. Whether through spot practice, visualization, or other techniques, it's essential to approach practice with focus and purpose in order to achieve the best results. So, next time you sit down to practice, remember to prioritize quality over quantity.
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Jodi Ann Russell, Ed.D., M.M., B.M., N.C.T.M. is an expert piano instructor who emphasizes mindfulness, relaxation, creativity and technique in personalized piano lessons and master classes online.