In this article, we are bringing you part 2 of our “Top Tips for Amateur Pianists” series, with which our goal is to provide practical, easy-to-implement recommendations that will benefit your practice.
These tips will come especially handy if you are practicing the piano on your own or starting your studies, going through the first years of experience. Implementing these tips in your recurrent piano practice will help you to move forward, find fewer blockades, and achieve a higher level of skill consistently over time.
Make sure to visit the first part of our series by clicking here. And without any further ado, let’s begin.
Don’t Obsess Over Theory
In the first part of our series on tips for amateur pianists, we recommended our readers invest time in music theory. This will definitely bring a new dimension of learning to the practice and unlock different degrees of skill. However, there is another extreme to ignoring theory and that is focusing too much on what the books have to say.
This is especially true for technique books, which are often popular among beginners. The harsh reality is that no one became a skilled pianist by reading books. These are remarkedly valuable resources and should not be ignored. But, obsessing over them and spending hours and hours reading the theory can play greatly against you.
Definitely find the time to take in essential reads but spend the rest of the time on the actual practice, sitting on the piano doing the hard work and materializing all that you are learning.
Listen to Piano Music
This one may sound obvious but there are many people who are interested in learning to play the piano who won’t spend enough time listening to the music it produces.
It’s not about becoming a copycat of any other pianist but about making the reception and process of this music more natural. Listening to piano music can help amateur pianists to interpret the contents and then take their own insights and subconscious savvy into their own practice.
This will not only make the ear more receptive to piano music but it may come with unexpected benefits, like finding new music that you didn’t know before and refueling your interest and passion.
Differentiate Conscious Practice from Playing
In a recent article on good foundations for any piano practice, we mentioned the differences between practicing and playing and how important it was for the student to understand these as early as possible.
Practice requires a particular amount of patience and accuracy, attention to detail, and frequent repetition. On the other hand, we could refer music to as spending the credit we pianists obtain through careful, diligent practice. It’s the moment of letting go of the practice tempo and relying on our confidence.
Making this differentiation will allow amateur pianists to make the most of every single practice session, instead of spending it powering through it at an unhealthy pace. Also, trying to practice like we are actually playing may lead to incorrect, sloppy technique. While flowing on the piano feels good and it’s undoubtedly necessary to and desired by any pianist, it is the slow, careful practice sessions that develop the most admirable skills.
Sight-reading consists of the activity of quickly identifying notes, rhythms, and other important elements in a music notation from a piece that the player doesn’t know until that moment.
Practicing this skill will enable amateur pianists to start playing new pieces of music faster, making the practice significantly more productive and efficient. Instead of sluggishly going through the piece, probably frustrating you in the process, by sight-reading you can increase the pace of your practice when new music is introduced.
Even if you consider yourself an amateur pianist and want to stay that way, this is a very desirable skill that will grant you great benefits down the road.
Never Neglect Proper Posture
At Hidrau, we will never stop talking about proper posture. As makers of many of the best piano benches in the world, we care for ergonomics and the very best posture a pianist can adopt when playing her instrument.
When proper posture on the piano is neglected, a cascade of long-lasting consequences may fall on the amateur pianist. Improper posture can too easily become a habit and this one is very difficult to break. What is worse, the wrong posture can bring the pianist significant health issues. It won’t stop at muscle and joint discomfort but will continue until bringing real injuries. Simply ignoring a lazy posture can be very serious. We have covered this topic in previous articles.
So, one of the best tips for amateur pianists to have in mind is to pay attention to how they are sitting on the piano. Besides paying careful attention and making sure not to slouch over the piano, just to mention a few considerations, it is necessary to have the support of a proper piano bench.
One key element is the capability of adjusting the piano bench’s height, mainly because every pianist will have different needs, meaning that there is no one-size-fits-all bench unless it can be adjusted at will. This point has been of enormous importance for Hidrau, leading us to design and produce a market-leading technology for highly-precise pneumatic height adjustment.
The Bottom Line
With these 5 tips, we finish part 2 of our series. We have covered the counterproductive obsession with theory, the healthy activity of listening to piano music, differentiating how we play and practice, the valuable skill of sight-reading, and maintaining proper posture at all times.