Here are a few rules and guidelines that help our students to practice more efficiently. Before starting practising be sure that your child is well fed, had enough sleep and feels well in the practising environment. Organize the area so the child is not disturbed or invalidated by other persons in the same room. If you have a digital (electronic) piano your might use a good headset if other people could be disturbed by the practising student. Also upright piano usually have a “quiet” middle pedal that can be locked and produces a much softer sound. This might help if somebody needs to sleep next door and the full piano sound would be too penetrating.

student practising

  1. Lots of short practice sessions during the week are better than one or two longer ones. Try to schedule regular practice times to make sure it happens! Younger children benefit from a parent sitting with them whilst they practise – even if that parent is not a musician themselves. It is quite unreasonable to expect young children to effectively practise on their own, and ideally a parent or other adult should take an active part in it.

  2. Use all available tools such as a Metronome, a music note locator for beginners, the help sheets and learning modules of this website, etv.

  3. Playing a piece through is NOT “practising” – “practice” means selecting small sections of a piece and repeating them until you can do them. Next, try adding a couple of sections together. Maybe end your practice session by playing the piece through and see what still goes wrong. The places where you were still unhappy with the result are the sections you should BEGIN your next practice session. Don’t always start your practice at the beginning of a piece. DO try out different ways of practising a passage – for example, playing even notes in different rhythmic patterns or piano broken chord passages as blocked chords – many of these practising techniques are tried and tested, so if your teacher suggests them, give them a try.

  4. Learning to play an instrument takes some time – even though you have practised a piece, if it still goes wrong, it is usually because something in the action-flow is not working fine. You have a stop of some sort or do a mistake. Use the sheet music and exactly copy the finger numbers and finger actions as outlined in the piece. The purpose of  good fingering is to allow a smooth actio flow that does not cause stops or mistakes such as “running out of fingers”.

  5. Stay in touch with your sheet music as good as you can. It is fine to learn a piece by heart and watch your hands on the keyboard. It is very important that you concentrate exactly to play on the keyboard what is written in the notes.

  6. Student should listen to every sound he makes and assess it and perform corrections if needed.

  7. Slow and correct is ALWAYS better than fast and wrong.

  8. Accept that you are in it for the long haul – often adult students in particular get frustrated at how long it can take to be able to play a piece. Remember that when you hear that perfect professional performance that that performer has been practising effectively for many hours a day for quite some time.

  9. Comparing yours or your child’s progress with others’ is not helpful – progress rate is individual and depends on many factors, especially on the effectiveness of practice undertaken. Often, the tortoise overtakes the hare. Effective, regular practice is more important than “talent”.

  10. The most important tip for technique is to relax. Often older students are so afraid of making mistakes that they tense up – this is why what “worked” at home doesn’t “work” in a lesson. Music always comes more easily when we are relaxed. Remember that your teacher has heard some awful sounds over the years (!) and realises that you are going to make mistakes. Embrace mistakes as an opportunity to learn, rather than as a failure – and don’t apologise for them! Don’t invalidate yourself!

  11. Our bi-annual recitals are a great way to feel you are progressing, but are not the only way to measure your progress. If possible perform also in between the recitals such as in school, family gatherings, friends parties etc. Don’t be shy to play together with your parents, siblings and friends if they play an instrument too. Practising from time to time can end in itself. This can lead to some degree of introversion. Playing with friends and entertaining other people offers the opposite flow and leads to extraversion.

  12. Often, the best practice you do will be immediately after or soon after your lesson – when everything from the lesson is fresh in your mind!

“The difference in winning and losing is most often…not quitting.” Walt Disney