Guidelines for Effective Practice
Class Piano requires mindful daily practice. You should make a plan to practice not only piano performance pieces but also other functional skills for keyboard that you learn in class. Please refer to the instruction below.
Scales & arpeggios
- Watch the fingerings! Make your muscles memorize the fingering patterns.
- Practice hands separately at first, saying the finger numbers out loud, until you feel comfortable without looking at the keyboard.
- After separate hand practice, practice both hands opposite direction and parallel motion in two octaves.
- Play with different rhythmic patterns.
- Start at a slow tempo that you can play without hesitation, and then speed up little by little.
- Practice hands separately first.
- Watch your fingerings. Using correct fingering is very important!
- Remember how your fingers move when you change the chords (Think about intervals of one chord to the next)
- When you feel comfortable playing a chord progression in C major, play up a half step all the way to octave C. Now you can play a chord progression in all major and harmonic minor keys.
- Study the score before you play at sight.
- Find out the key, form, range for each hand, repeated sections, phrasing, dynamics, articulations, chord progressions, etc. Remember what you observe from the score (especially any repeated pattern)! That will definitely make sight-reading a lot easier.
- Play the melody a couple of times first.
- Write down the Roman numeral numbers with any inversion symbols.
- Play block chords with L.H.
- Play both hands.
- If you feel comfortable with block chord accompaniment, try different accompaniment styles such as broken chords, waltz, and Alberti bass. For two-hand accompaniment, record a melody on your phone or other recording devices, then play two-hand accompaniment along with your recording.
- Play a harmonization piece a half step up and a whole step down.
- Play a five-finger pattern or a scale in a transposing key.
- Play L.H. chords first then add R.H.
- Remember the key signature! (Accidentals!)
- Learn pieces correctly from the very first (fingerings, rhythms, notes, etc.).
- Practice separate hands in sections.
- Write things down: fingerings, chord symbols, inversions, etc.
- Pay attention to musical elements: key, form, dynamics, articulations, chords, patterns, repeated sections, phrases, accompaniment patterns, and rhythmic patterns – anything you can find.
- Practice the problem spots first (hands separately and repeatedly). Fix the problem spots first.
- Don’t play from the beginning every time you play!
- Record your performance and be a teacher for yourself. You don’t need to wait until you’ve mastered a piece. You will find different stages of your playing along the way.