How to Improve Your Piano Skills

The piano has been a widely popular instrument since its invention in the early 1700s, and every day a new pianist begins their journey to master the ivory keys. Ogden Piano Gallery, a Utah piano store, can help find the right instrument for your needs. When starting a new instrument, whether it is a piano, cello, or saxophone, it can be a little bit intimidating to feel like you are a beginner. It is easy to hear that all you need to do is to practice, practice, practice! However, what is the best way to practice? And is practicing only for beginners? Of course, it isn’t just for beginners! Anyone who plays an instrument and wants to play it well knows the importance of practicing. But, how can you improve your piano skills and practice effectively? Regardless if you are a beginner or an expert, improvements can be made to your skills. Follow these tips to improve your piano skills!

Get Back to the Basics on Your Music

Practice and repeat musical scales and warmups at different tempos. This should be done at the beginning of each piano practice time and repeated to speed up fingers. If you need help memorizing the keys, consider writing on the piano keys with a washable marker or purchasing decals designed for the piano keys. 

Read and review sheet music to improve quickness and familiarity with the melody, tempo, and notes. While reading or studying your music, you can hum along and practice finger placement. This type of practice can be done away from the piano. For example, if you are waiting for your car’s oil to be changed or at a doctor’s appointment, bring sheet music to review and practice in your head. You never have to be sitting at the piano to practice something for the piano.

Keep the Beat!

Rhythm and tempo are essential to the integrity of the music being played. It is important to know what meter you are playing in and be able to keep the tempo beat as your play. Just like the previous tip said, practice your sheet music by reviewing it and keeping the beat in mind.

Every musician should also have a metronome to practice with that can help keep the beat for them as they practice and play their instrument. There are several options for different types of metronomes that can be purchased, including digital, wind-up, or traditional ones. Choose whichever type works best for you and your situation. 

While playing, find a way to use your body to keep a beat; this can be done by moving your body to the beat or tapping your foot. 

Get Your Body Into It

Playing the piano isn’t just about using your fingers and hands to press the keys to make the music. It is much more than that! A pianist must pay attention to their hands and fingers and their posture and feet. 

Having right and left hand coordination is something that can be incredibly difficult and a struggle for many pianists. To improve these coordinations consider the following tips:

  • Practice one hand at a time while adjusting to playing at different tempos. Play the same music section repeatedly with one hand until mastery, then switch. Do this back and forth while alternating speed until you can play the music section at a quicker tempo. Practice it slower and then pick up the pace once comfortable, be sure to stop when mistakes are made. It is never good to keep making the same mistakes over and over. When errors are made, stop, go back a few measures of music and start again until the error is resolved. Once both hands can play the music section clearly and without mistakes, begin playing the music with both hands. Practice with both hands slowly at first and increase speed as you improve. 
  • You will find one hand, and typically your more dominant hand will be stronger and easier to increase the speed with. Your dominant hand still needs to be practiced, but your less dominant hand will require more practice. This is entirely normal, and as you practice, your less dominant hand will improve its ability. 

Posture must be maintained from your fingers to your toes! Proper posture includes the following:

  • Keep your hands and fingers relaxed and curved, don’t allow your fingers to buckle or dip down. The tip of your finger should be on the key without the knuckle bending. Just have a gentle curvature to your fingers while still keeping them firm. When pressing keys, it shouldn’t come only from your finger. Use your arms and wrist as well. 
  • Your head, shoulder, hips, and knees should all be aligned. Keep your back tall and strong, don’t slouch. 
  • Your feet should rest beneath you. Use a footstool if necessary.
  •  Lean your body and arms out to reach different sides of the piano, don’t scoot up and down the bench.

Maintain a Consistent Practice Schedule

When planning your practice schedule, it is important to practice in an atmosphere that will assist you in focusing and having limited distractions. Your piano should be in a comfortable place with good sound quality. In addition to being comfortable, consider lighting and temperature as well. 

It is important to practice around the same time of day consistently every day. Practicing every day is essential, even if you have to modify the length of your practice time. Practice should be 30 minutes long or longer, depending on skill level and motivation.  Your practice routine should be similar each day, starting with warm-up scales and chords before moving on to a musical selection to practice. Have a few musical pieces that are fun and something that will challenge you. 

Set Some Goals to Improve Your Piano Skills 

Following these steps will assist in improving your piano skills. When learning the piano, set yourself some goals to achieve. For example, select a piece of music that you would like to master over a period of time. To get started on your piano playing journey or upgrade your current piano, visit the Utah Piano Store.

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