Having more fun and flowing effortlessly while playing piano are important aspects of your practice that also have immense benefits. When we enjoy what we are doing, whatever activity it is, it becomes exponentially easier to engage and produce better, faster, longer-lasting results.
Flowing across the piano is a beautiful experience that, over time, comes more naturally. It may take a little bit at first, but with time, effort, and the right approach, such flow and ease can become a natural part of your recurrent piano practice.
So, how do you have more fun and flow effortlessly when playing the piano? In this article, we have a few practical ideas for you.
Understand Flow at the Piano
We can define “flow” as a state of mind that artists and other high-performers experience, where a deep focus on the task at hand is achieved. In theory, artists in a flow state experience a kind of disconnection with everything else while playing, painting, drawing, writing, or anything else they may do as their creative activity.
This “loss of self” is an interesting concept without a doubt, where the performer is so immersed in the process that everything else is left aside, creating the potential to produce great art.
However, we are not aiming for that kind of flow in this article, exactly. Today we want to use the term “flow” as the state of mind where you experience great comfort and satisfaction while playing, where you play with few mistakes but, most importantly, are immersed in the process and enjoying each second of it.
In avoiding the grat conform in question also involves using the right equipment and environment. Elements such as a piano bench can make or break your practice. That is why our team works so hard designing and building superb piano benches that help our pianist to achieve this flow state.
Don’t Skip Warming Up
Artists perform best when they warm up. When you play the piano, you are not only using your mind but your body as well. Similar to athletes, you need to prepare your body for the physical effort that is coming. It’s not about endurance but precision, about properly controlling your body to hit the keys with the desired and optimum accuracy and sophistication.
Besides helping with flow and comfort, warming up is important to reduce the risk of physical injuries, especially in your hands (think of carpal tunnel and tendonitis– risks we have discussed in previous articles).
Break Down Chords and Plan Your Patterns
A good way to develop that flow on the piano is to break down the chords and plan patterns to practice. Do this slowly, at first, by choosing patterns to practice and taking the time to get used to such patterns so that you feel comfortable on the keys when playing them.
Even with easy, simple patterns, take the time to practice slowly before attempting any increases in cadency. This diligent repetition will create the right kind of gradual experience and comfort you need in order to build up to playing with greater flow.
Practice Positive Visualization
Stress and anxiety are the exact opposite of having fun and flowing while playing the piano. Many times, performance anxiety stems from fueling the wrong thoughts. Seriously thinking and visualizing that you are going to play poorly is probably the most effective technique to have a subpar experience during your practice.
Positive visualization, while underrated for some and overrated by others, is an objectively powerful habit to have if you want to enjoy your piano playing practice. Make sure that you have positive thoughts about the experience before entering it. Practice mindfulness if possible by simply being present.
Absolutely Forget About Perfection
Quite related to our previous point, focusing on perfection is also a great way NOT to have fun while playing the piano. You should be enjoying the process, even enjoying making mistakes (in fact, scientific evidence shows how making mistakes is what makes brain plasticity— and, therefore, real learning possible).
Perfection can be an excellent barrier not only to having fun and flowing while playing the piano but also to actual learning. This desire for perfection can materialize into an obsessive focus on mistakes with negative feedback loops taking place. It’s also represented by sticking to a single piece for too long with the intention of “mastering it”, something that can distract from and affect the rest of your practice.
Having fun while playing the piano requires you to move on, even if a certain piece is not yet perfect. Having fun involves self-acceptance and understanding that some pieces will never be perfect or that they will take a little bit more extra time in the future. This is your permission to be kinder to yourself.
Dare to Be Creative Without Judgment
It is very difficult, even for experienced piano players, to get creative and do their own thing. We all want to stick with what we know, with the pieces already written by other artists or to simply go with what our teachers give us to practice. But experiencing that flow sometimes demands us to go outside of what we know.
Beware: getting creative with your piano playing is a great way to make mistakes… and that is perfectly fine. You may feel for a moment that you haven’t learned anything so far but it’s because of the exploration process, of going beyond what you have been practicing with rigidity all this time. Accept this fact and embrace that creative, freer side of your practice.
The Bottom Line
Learning how to have fun and flow effortlessly while playing the piano should be an absolute priority for you. If you don’t learn this early on, you run the risk of eventually burning out and even quitting your practice. It is that simple.
When you are having fun, that exciting flow will eventually become a natural part of focused, engaged practice. You will experience less and less anxiety when playing, especially in public. Every hour you spend on the piano, either by yourself or with your teacher, will feel like an electrifying opportunity to grow in your piano practice.
And naturally, we must mention that a key part of enjoying the practice and achieving both of these objectives (fun and flow) is to have the right setup. Besides the piano, you need a piano bench that keeps you comfortable and helps prevent you from sustaining any injuries. That is what Hidrau piano benches do for thousands of talented piano players all around the world.