Practise in a distraction free environment dedicated to practising the piano.

Practise-the-piano-in-a-clutter-free-environment

It is absolutely vital that you practice in the best environment possible.

It is also important to realise that you are responsible for your environment!

I suggest practising in a clutter-free environment where you can simply focus on practising the piano and nothing else.

Another tip – make sure you have a dedicated REAL metronome. Such as this one – AMAZON.

Avoid using your mobile phone or iPad as a metronome.

Otherwise, you will definitely get distracted with text messages and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others.

A distraction-free environment – dedicated 100% to your practice session is the first key to success.

For each hour you practice, you want to make sure that your time is well spent.

You want to get a return on the time that you’ve put into your piano practice. (ROI)

Make sure that friends and family knows that you are not to be disturbed during your piano practice sessions unless it is of the utmost importance.

Even a simple question can actually throw you off for 15 minutes or more. So avoid conversations during your practise session.

In order to make amazing progress, you simply cannot afford to have anything less than optimal.

 

Schedule your piano practice times

Schedule your piano practise

Scheduling your practice times is absolutely vital.

If you do not schedule dedicated piano practice times, you will end up practising far less than you planned.

I cannot emphasise this enough – you simply have to schedule SET daily practice sessions.

Remember in addition to having excellent quality piano lessons also need to schedule dedicated piano practice times.

If you do this you will become successful much quicker than not doing it.

If you feel frustrated with your piano playing, it is probably due to your piano practice schedule and discipline to stick to those times.

So join the elite stick to a dedicated schedule.

Stick to your piano practice times and be consistent in your approach

Consistency

This is a bit of repetition of the previous point, but it is EXTREMELY vital!

If you can consistently practice on a dedicated time, you will see tremendous results piano playing.

My best piano students practice on a regular basis at a set time and day… MOST of the time.

In fact, if you want to achieve anything in any subject in life, being consistent and disciplined is key.

You need to be consistent in your approach and practice at the same time each and every day.

It is a well-known fact that practising every day for 30 minutes beats practising for hours in the weekend.

You simply cannot beat daily consistency.

Make sure that you incorporate this into your practice schedule.

Malcolm Gladwell in his hugely popular book – ‘Outliers’ introduced many of us to the (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26384712 ) 10,000 hour principle.

I firmly believe, you can practice far less hours than the 10K number and still become an expert on the condition that you are consistent and practise in a disciplined manner.

About 4000 hours will usually REALLY set you apart from the rest… As long as you’ve practised in a consistent manner and practised for at least 5 years! (Yes the years also count… to become an outstanding pianist)

Always warm up before proceeding to do ‘HEAVY-DUTY’ piano practise

Warm up

Franz Liszt made virtuoso piano popular in the 19th century!

We now have many schools of virtuoso piano playing.

Developing tremendous technique when your instrument is a wonderful goal, but make sure that you always warm up properly before you proceed to heavy-duty piano practice!

The last thing you want to do is to hurt yourself or to overdo it.

There are countless stories of musicians were to stop playing due to injury.

According to BAPAM (British Association for Performing Arts Medicine) it is absolutely vital to warm up properly.

You can download a PDF document from BAPAM’s website here (IT IS WONDERFUL): http://www.bapam.org.uk/documents/A4DontCrampYourStyleWarmUps_BAPAMFactsheet.pdf

They advise musicians to take regular breaks and to even cool down after playing!

Never proceed to play scales at lighting speed without warming up.

Make sure you start out slowly…

Take great care of your fingers – you need them to play the piano!

 

Have specific goals for your piano practice schedule

Goals makes you grow

According to success giant Brian Tracy, only 3% of adults of clear, written, measurable and specific goals and according to him, they achieve 10 times as much as people with no goals at all!

That is an incredible fact!

Think about it for a while – if you have specific, time bound, written goals your piano playing and you stick to them you will achieve 10 times more than you ever did before!

Due to this fact, YOU MUST set specific – measurable – time bound goals for each and every practice session and routine.

If you are slack in this area, you have to accept that your results will be less than optimal.

Be a creature of habit and do the same thing in every practice session

Top priority

Prof. Josias van der Merwe (Head of Culture & Arts of Technicon Pretoria and examinator and professor at UNISA), who is an absolute (WORLD CLASS) master at teaching and playing the piano always follows the same habits during his lessons and practice.

In my private piano lessons with master instructor Josias Van Der Merwe, lasting three hours in total at a time, the first 90 minutes was dedicated to technique and the rest dedicated to the music.

We followed the same structure again and again… DAY IN DAY OUT!

Successful people always do the same thing day in and day out.

Dinu Lipatti, the amazing Romanian pianist practise each and every day… consistently including on Christmas. He stands head and shoulders above ANY of today’s concert pianists!

Practising the piano is not about being creative – is about becoming better at the art of playing the piano.

You therefore, need to practice the piano in a consistent and reliable way to become the best that you can!

 

Only practice piano on the days that you eat!

Practise on the days you eat

This is quite a funny quote – but it is really true.

In order for you to become the pianists that you’ve always wanted to become, you need to practice on a daily basis.

You need to put in the effort daily and you will see the results.

Little by little your piano playing skills will grow and you will become the pianist you’ve always wanted to become.

So practise… practise… practise… and reap the rewards!

Learn how to work on the most important tasks first.

Whenever you practice a piece of music, it is CRUCIAL that you do not always start right at the beginning.

At times you need to work the piece from the middle. At other times you need to work on the ending bit.

In fact you need to keep track of the difficult parts and work on them first.

You need to conquer difficulties and find solutions to problems.

So when you start working on your piano examination piece – make absolutely sure that you work on the difficult parts first.

It will pay.

 

Be disciplined

Practise the piano

Being disciplined means not having excuses.

Only a small percentage of people actually have discipline.

If you truly want to become wonderful at playing the piano, you will need to take courage and become a disciplined individual.

You will need to join the 3% of piano students make exceptional progress on a weekly basis.

You will need to give up television and even a night out in order to become the best!

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying you should not have any fun, I absolutely believe in having a good time, but you do need to follow your schedule and structure.

So don’t let anything hold you back – decided today that you are going to be disciplined and disciplined for life.

Decide today that you going to take your piano playing to the stars!

Decide today that you are going to put in the time required to achieve your goals.

You will be very glad you did!

 

Practising is investing into your musical future

investing

An investor, or an allocator of capital lays out sums today for a better return in the future.

He or she will usually do a lot of due diligence and look for a company far below its intrinsic value in a sector that is not glorious, but reliable such as Nestlé!

A good investor always insist on safety of principal and an adequate return.

In the same manner you need to invest in your musical future.

In order to get an adequate return, you need to create dedicated piano practice times and sessions.

You need to go the extra mile and do what is necessary to achieve your goal.

You need to be one of the 3% of adults who have, specific, time bound goals who achieve 10 times more than others.

You need to be the person who is willing to put in the full amount of effort required to achieve.

At times it may feel frustrating, and at times it may feel hard, but you’re paying a price – NO actually you are paying a privilege…

You’re paying a wonderful privilege to become an excellent pianist…

So pay the privilege and pay it in full.

Enjoy the fruits of your labour and make your BOLDEST piano dreams reality!

 

 

 

 

 

Woman performing the piano in front of an audience

Let’s be honest, performing the piano in front of a live audience can be daunting.

It takes courage and a fighting spirit to perform especially if you perform a difficult piano composition.

The truth is that performing the piano in front of an audience is as much a skill as learning the piano.

Just as you learn how to play the piano by taking lessons, you need to learn how to perform the piano in front of an audience by performing regularly.

The more regularly you perform, the easier performing will become for you.

The key is performing in front of an audience. You need to step out TAKE MASSIVE action and make yourself uncomfortable. (At least initially). 

Playing the piano requires extraordinary discipline. Practising your scales, arpeggios, sight-reading and developing your aural skill takes tremendous time and effort.

Often times one forgets that performing live is as much an art as the very act of playing the piano itself.

This is the reason why many people suffer when performing live. They forget it takes practise and repetition just like their piano playing!

The fact is performance is an art and a science. It’s an art as no two performance are ever the same and a science as there is a definite methodology to walking to the piano, sitting down, composing yourself and finally performing the piece. There are numerous techniques that one have to acquire in order to perform at your best. That is the scientific part!

When performing live, you are literally putting yourself under a tremendous amount of pressure, therefore:

-> You need to learn how to shut the audience out and focus on your instrument and the music.

-> You need to learn how to focus under pressure.

-> You need to learn to continue even when you make a few mistakes.

-> You need to excel on the stage!

In due time if you are faithful, you will reap the rewards of your hard work and eventually become less concerned about performing live.

It will take time for you to become the performer you want to become, but with dedication you will most certainly achieve your goals!

There is also an inner game going on inside of yourself, and you need to learn to let go of your critical voice and just focus on performing without judging yourself.

You will then perform in the zone!

Make sure you spend some time thinking about all the aspects of performance before performing again!

Here are a few tips for helping you perform better:

– Work on your psychology more than anything else – i.e. speak to yourself using positive affirmations. Listen to audio clips from Anthony Robbins or Brian Tracy!

– Make sure you REALLY know your material. If you know the score extremely well – you will be more confident. In fact to the degree that you DO NOT KNOW the score to that degree you will probably suffer on stage! Competence builds confidence…

– Dress for the occasion. If you are dressed up you will definitely perform better.

– Make sure you do a ‘dress rehearsal’ in front of a friendly audience before performing in front of the REAL life audience!

– You can perform live at pianos throughout London. We recommend the pianos at St Pancras International station. There you can perform your piece in front of a very friendly audience. (See: http://streetpianos.com/london2012/pianos/st-pancras-station/)

Also lastly, do not be too hard on yourself if you make mistakes.

You will make some for sure and it is a learning process.

Playing the piano is a journey not a destination… The secret is enjoying the journey!

Remember once again performing is as much an art as playing and it needs to be studied!

Ask your instructor to help you with tips and techniques to become a better performer.

In due time if you do not give up but persist, you will become the performer that you have always wanted to become.

Now is the time to take the first step and at least perform at that dress rehearsal!

May you succeed greatly in your piano performance.

If you work at it – SUCCESS IS YOURS!

concern

That is an excellent question, and I understand why you are asking it.

It ‘s okay to be concerned, especially when learning how to play the piano as an adult beginner.

Along with all the false myths and beliefs, adults are prone to self-doubt and unrealistic fears.

The truth is that you will definitely be able to play the piano.

You will definitely be able to make all your dreams come true.

But it will require a willingness to study and practice consistently on a daily basis.

We always recommend beginners to practice at least 15 minutes a day for six days a week. Success comes when you do something consistently day after day.

Learning to play the piano is not always an easy task as an adult, but it is certainly doable.

Please do not get me wrong, it can be enjoyable, but it requires dedication and a willingness to work.

There is no quick method of learning to play the piano.

A lot of online courses on the Internet promises success after only a few days of study, both you and I know that when it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

So you do not need to be concerned about whether you can learn how to play the piano.

The truth is you can.

A better question would be: “Am I willing to put in the work required to learn how to play the piano?”.

At the London Piano Institute, we do everything in our power to make learning as fun as possible.

We organise events; we host concerts; we organise student get-togethers.

We try our best to help you get past the initial stages of learning.

We also realise that it is not always easy to learn how to play the piano as an adult beginners when you also have a full-time career to look after.

The good news is we have lots of success stories from adults who despite having a seriously busy work life, became highly proficient in their piano playing and continue to set new records.

So please do not be concerned, simply get started with high-quality piano education and practise diligently.

If you do that, you will become successful in your piano playing!

metronomeIf you follow the advice given in this article, you will definitely
see a marked improvement in your piano playing and your timing.”

Let’s face facts.

You are probably playing out of time a lot more than you like.

Your general timing may be good, but if you scrutinise your playing you will realise that your timing may not be as solid as you hope.

Playing a piece from beginning to the end with solid rhythm and timing can require a lot of metronomic study.

World-class pianists and musicians often state that timing (alongside improvisation and interpretation) is the most difficult aspect of music to master.

That may be the reason why a lot of beginner piano students initially dislike the metronome.

I certainly understand why.

However if you understand the reasoning behind using the metronome when you practice the piano, you will be much keener on practising regularly with a metronome.

According to Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”. Therefore by practising consistently with a metronome at a very slow pace , you will eventually play the piano on time to a large degree.

In order to play the piano well, you have to take care of your technique and sound. In addition to this you will need rhythmic command.

A lot of piano students fall short when it comes to timing, and that is exactly why I wrote the article. Hopefully this article will inspire you to improve your timing and your piano playing!

Here is what I would advise:

Practice with the metronome at 40 bpm

I often use this technique during my piano lessons to ensure that my students develop a solid feel for timing.

A lot of my methods may seem a little arduous at first, but sticking with them will guarantee a major improvement in your piano playing!

In fact, after a number of lessons  my students all love practising at 40 beats per minute. (Yes, I must be honest, I do occasionally hear a few grunts…)

By practising at 40 bpm you are basically teaching your internal clock to sync your playing at a super slow speed and that in turn trains you to play in time.

It definitely develops rhythmical discipline and strength in your piano playing.

A vital skill when it comes to taking your musicianship to the next level!

Develop your speed with the aid of your metronome

You can gradually work up passages in order to increase your speed.

Start at 40 bpm and work up to 160 beats per minute or more if you required.

This will help you develop a solid technique and it will increase your speed.

From time to time I do also advise to switch off the metronome and play at speeds far beyond your capabilities. (Make sure you are very relaxed whilst doing this and do take frequent breaks!)

Push the limits and play sloppy for a little while to feel what it is like to play at fast speeds.

After you have done this, get back to the metronome and clean it up!

This extreme speed technique is called “practising at bursts of speed”. It is there to give you the effects and feeling of practising with nervous muscles to play at lightning speeds. (Once again, only practice it for a very short while and take frequent breaks. Stay relaxed at all times. If you feel any fatigue in your muscles or hands definitely rest!)

Don’t tap your foot with the metronome – at least not initially…

If you find yourself tapping your foot to the metronome, you may have the feeling that your timing is improving, but this may not be the case.

Depending upon the style of music you play, tapping your foot can become a part of the expression. In jazz and popular piano playing, pianists often tap their foot alongside the beat as part of their expression.

However, when you perform a piece of Mozart’s music, tapping your foot may seem nice to you, but it can distract the audience from enjoying the piece.

If you do tap your foot to the metronome, you must remember that you are literally playing a second instrument with the piano.

You can easily have the impression that you play in time, yet your foot is tapping out of time with the metronome. (Try it, you will see what I mean!)

I always advise using your internal clock when playing with the beat. You’ve got an internal rhythm and you do not need to tap your foot with the beat to feel the beat.

If however you are at an advanced stage of playing the piano especially jazz or popular piano, and tapping your foot is part of your expression (and it does not distract you from good timing), feel free to do so!

Alternate your piano practice between practising with the metronome and practising without metronome!

Barry Green wrote in “The inner game of music” that one should practise in a strict disciplined manner as well as a more free creative manner.

I could not agree more.

I would recommend practising your chords, scales and arpeggios, as well as piano compositions with and without a metronome.

Your metronome will help you to develop good timing on the piano. However I also believe that it is important to be able to play from time to time without a metronome.

When you perform in front of an audience, you will not always have the luxury of having a metronome there, and you will have to feel the tempo within.

That is one of the reasons why I would definitely recommend practising both with and without a metronome.

That concludes my article on timing and using a metronome. Please do note that most piano students struggle with timing, so if you can tackle this issue, you will be so much further ahead than the rest of the pack! Yes, it’s not a competition, but you do want to go forward as fast as possible. So start loving your metronome it will reward richly over and over again!

 

For the most recommended metronome software for the musical adventurous amongst you, take a look at: http://bouncemetronome.com

You can also find a copy of the Barry Green’s excellent book below: ( a fantastic read by the way!)

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