How to practice the piano? 5 tips to do it the right way!

how to practice the piano

You have a piano or a keyboard and you have started to learn how to play it.

The most important things to do now is to learn how to practice the piano.

You need to find a plan of action with well-defined goals. You need also to decide when you will practice, and for how long.

And review your progress regularly.

And revise your goals and methods over time.

There are plenty of planning and time management techniques out there.
And you probably already have yours which you can apply here.

Let me give you right now a few tips.

Tip1: Practice regularly and schedule it

It is not efficient at all to do long sessions of several hours one day and nothing for one week or more.

It is much more efficient to practice daily if you can.

Or at least several times a week.

How much time do you need to practice to progress on the piano? Well as much as you can.

But the least recommended would be 20-30 min.

And write it down in your diary!


Tip2: set your session goals in advance and keep track of what you have done

This is a general time management technique that I use myself for everything, from work to gardening.

Bullet journals are quite good for this but use what is best for you. Even a simple sticky or a reminder on your phone.

For each session, decide BEFORE what you will do and for how long.

Why?

5 reasons:

  • You will save time at the beginning of your session because you won’t have to wonder what to do.
  • You will be more focused: “ ok today I decided to do this exercise for 5 min. Let’s go.” No procrastination.
  • You can ensure that individual sessions are aligned with your purpose and your main goal.
  • You can measure your progress.
  • You will be accountable towards someone (yourself).

Tip3: have a detailed practice routine

It will be easier to learn and improve your skills over time by following the global system if you have a detailed practice routine.

For example:

  1. 5 min: warm-up
  2. 5 min: rhythm exercises
  3. 5 min: music sheet reading
  4. 10 min: fingering exercises
  5. 10 min: learning a song

You can find other good practice routines here.

I also strongly suggest you read this article about interleaved practice. It is quite unconventional but it makes sense to me that you will learn better using this method.

Tip4: Start small and make it a habit

It has been shown (see here) that to set new durable habits in your life, it works better by starting small.

Even if you only have 5 minutes in your day (and you can find 5 minutes, no excuses!), it is worth practicing something.

Because you will likely do more.

And this will train your brain to go to the piano regularly.

If you try to start big (like when you take your New Year resolutions which last… 1 month? Less?), you will likely fail.

Because there is a big barrier for your brain. And you will tend to find excuses:” today I don’t have one spare hour, thus I don’t do anything”.

And you will find yourself in one month without any piano practice.

Try it and you will see it.

And if I am wrong, congrats! You have a strong will.

But trust me (and others) or not, willpower is not enough to set regular and durable practice habits.

You can read more about how to set habits here.

Tip5: play without any piano!

Yep. That’s right.

You can practice even when you are away from your keyboard.

For instace, you can do rhythm exercises (like drummers do).

Or, you can do fingering exercises: do the same exercises as you do on the piano, but on a table or on your knees.

You can also develop hand independence: do different fingering patterns on each hand.

And finally, you can play virtually the song you are learning or practicing by mental visualization.

This last technique has been proven to be part of the success of the best musicians and athletes.

Close your eyes and visualize yourself playing this song.

You can move your fingers of course. But they can stay still and it will still be efficient.

Watch this video, it is quite instructive even if it is not about piano:

Conclusion

Now you have a better idea on how to practice the piano.

The most important thing you have to do to guarantee you will make progress is to be consistent in your practice.

That’s all.

 Always keep going. Never give up. 

Even for a few minutes if you can’t do more.

But be consistent.

What to do next?

If you want to learn quickly something useful, read my post on piano chords, an easy way to get started!

You can also take online lessons by choosing the best online piano method for you here.

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