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More Help About Practicing!

Practicing is the hard work of mastering something worthwhile. At our parent orientation recently, we discussed and handed out lots of ideas to help with practicing when it becomes challenging. For parents or students who are looking for more help and ideas, the next three articles will be about this very topic!! This articles is simply a brainstormed list of ideas...

  1. Set a clear goal

  2. Be sure it is reasonable for the given time frame.

  3. Example: “Today I am going to learn Mouse Mousie in G major.”

  4. Warm up

  5. Warming up prevents tendinitis and helps the mind lock in on the task at hand.

  6. Example: Play the 5-finger warm-up in the same key as the song you will be practicing.

  7. Make fundamentals a priority

  8. When you’re in a hurry, scales and chords are the way to go!

  9. Example: Review the scales and chords you already know, starting with the most recent.

  10. Break it down

  11. Break up the song into smaller pieces.

  12. Example: Practice the first half of Mouse Mousie until you can play it correctly 3 times in a row.

  13. Slow down

  14. Slow it down to a pace you can play confidently.

  15. Slowly progress in speed when it becomes solid at slower tempos.

  16. Example: Start at 30 beats per minute, speed up to 40, and so on.

  17. Take a break

  18. During long or frustrating practice sessions, take a break!

  19. Example: Mouse Mousie isn’t going well. Take your hands off the piano, stand up, and take some deep breaths. Sit back down and try again.

  20. Start and end with fun

  21. After your warm-up, start with a song you’re excited about.

  22. Wrap up your practice session with a song you already play well.

  23. Example: Practice the chords to your favorite Disney song at the beginning and review Hot Cross Buns at the end.

  24. Simplify

  25. Combine tasks so the most important items are addressed.

  26. Example: Play scales and chords for warm-ups. Take a break by practicing a different song for a minute

  27. Change it up

  28. No need to do every task on the list every time. Do three or four different ones each day, making sure everything is covered by the end of the week.

  29. Example:

  30. Day 1 - Scales, first half of Mouse Mousie, part 1 of work page, dancing

  31. Day 2 - Scales, second half of Mouse Mousie, and drumming, and cards

  32. Day 3 - Scales, all of Mouse Mousie, part 2 of work page, and dancing

  33. Day 4 - Scales, chords,cards, and drumming

  34. Day 5 - Scales, chords, all of Mouse Mousie, card game, and drumming

  35. Listen to the songs you’re learning

  36. Find it on YouTube and listen to different people perform. What do you like? What don’t you like? Develop your ear and find your own style!

  37. Example: Listen to Mouse Mousie. What key is it in? What chords are used? How often are they played? Is it staccato or legato? Loud or soft? Fast or slow? Imitate what you like and try new ideas of your own.

Tips OFF the piano:

  • Listen to professionals

  • Practice hand shape

  • Eliminate tension

  • Posture exercise

  • Practice rhythm

  • Practice pedaling

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