Introduction: How to Avoid 5 Common Pitfalls When Learning to Play the Piano
Learning to play the piano is an incredibly fun and rewarding journey for anyone that has that desire.
Yes, it does take dedicated hard work to achieve this dream, but it is certainly doable - especially if you know what to look out for when you first start out.
It's a lot like when you first started to ride a bicycle. There were certain things you needed to know, in order to be safe while riding it and enjoy the ride as much as possible.
- You had to have the right tools: a good bike, helmet, and probably a water bottle.
- You had to know how to handle cars and other traffic on the road.
- You also needed to learn how to get around your neighborhood and any areas that you frequented on your bike.
If you weren't aware of how to deal with these issues ahead of time, then you probably ran into some trouble or had some type of difficulty that could have been avoided, had you known what to do ahead of time.
It's much the same with learning to play the piano.
There are certain pitfalls that almost all people tend to fall into when they first start learning to play the piano.
Knowing how to avoid them will be very important to how fast and how well you learn to play the piano. Identifying them ahead of time allows you to proceed with your practicing with a little more confidence as well, just by having the information at your disposal.
Read on to learn the most common 5 pitfalls that face every beginning piano player and how to avoid them.
Step 1: Avoid Playing Too Fast
Probably the number one thing that beginning students try to do that stunts their piano growth, is playing too fast.
We do it because we so want to hurry up and learn the piece so we can be able to play it.
But the truth is, the faster we try to play our piano music before we can, the more harm we do to our learning.
Take everything new and work on it very slowly at first. This will ensure that you learn your notes, rhythm, counting and articulations correctly.
It will also help you become aware of any mistakes so you can fix them from the beginning, instead of having to go back and fix them later on, which could take longer to do.
Practicing slowly is especially important when working on difficult passages.
After you've learned your notes correctly in a slow tempo, you'll find that speeding up your tempo is not only easy but fun as well!
Remember - speed up your tempo slowly and gradually to ensure that you can still play everything correctly while you are working on increasing your tempo.
Step 2: Avoid Starting at the Beginning Every Time You Practice
We all love to keep starting at the beginning of a piece because we know it better than the rest of the piece usually.
It's our comfort zone.
The problem is, that when we keep practicing and playing what we know each day only, we don't learn the rest of the piece. This can lead to frustration sometimes, which can then lead us back to just playing what we're comfortable with.
Try switching things around.
Always practice on your piano piece by starting first with the parts you don't know or are having some challenges with.
Once you've put in some good focused work on the new and/or harder parts, then go back and have some fun playing at the beginning, or other parts of the piece that you already know.
Step 3: Avoid Ignoring Your Mistakes
"Mistakes? What mistakes?"
This is what happens if you do play too fast and don't carefully learn your piece. You will end up making mistakes that you don't even know you're making.
*You can see that these steps build on each other. Playing slowly allows you to hear and identify any mistakes or stumbles in your fingers and notes.
*But...hearing a mistake is only half of your work.
Once you hear a mistake, you need to stop, figure out exactly what you are doing wrong, and take steps to fix it.
Don't try to fix every mistake at one time. Instead, focus on one or two that you can spend a few good minutes doing slow practicing to work through the problems.
Mistakes do happen a lot, so don't worry about making them.
Your goal is to use them to teach you where and what you need to work on to learn your piano piece the most successfully.
Step 4: Avoid Procrastination When It Comes to Practicing
Not only do you have to schedule practice time, you have to do it as well. :)
This is where it always gets challenging no matter what age of a student you are.
Practicing, especially good practicing always forces us to activate our self-discipline to make sure we stay on target with achieving our goals and reaching our dreams of playing at this or that level or playing this or that piece.
The biggest misconceptions that beginning students probably make in regards to setting up practice time, is thinking that they have to do a ton of it every day, or else that they can cram it all in in a day or two each week.
Neither...is a good choice quite honestly.
The best practice schedule is one that occurs almost every day of the week and lasts for a duration that is not overwhelming to the student's schedule.
It's much easier to face a 15-minute practice session each evening or morning, than it is a 2-hour long one, especially with busy schedules.
The great thing is, that the more you establish a routine of practicing a short amount of time each day, the longer your practicing will get without you even noticing it.
Step 5: Avoid Practicing Just Pieces - Include Scales and Exercises
This is a little like the saying "eat your vegetables before your dessert" that you heard when you were a kid.
Scales are the building blocks of music, and we simply must learn them.
Every piano piece is a mixture of different key signatures of different scales that are jumbled up into unique groups of rhythmic patterns and lyrical lines.
Practicing scales teachers our fingers the keyboard and where our notes are.
It also helps our fingers to move faster over the keyboard as we become more comfortable with where each finger goes for a corresponding note.
Piano exercises such as Hannon, teach us in more details how to put together those scales in different ways to create different sounds.
The more we practice our scales and exercises, the more pieces we will be able to learn and we'll be able to have the technical tools to tackle any type of piano music we want to play: such as Jazz or Blues.
Scales and exercises give us the building tools to learn anything we want to;
as all music is based on scales and exercises teach our fingers how to move around within those scales with freedom and speed.
Step 6: Summary
These tips provide a bit of a map for you to use while navigating through the process of learning to play the piano.
If you follow the map, it really will help you avoid the "potholes" in the road, so to say, and you'll be cruising along to achieving your dreams in no time!
Make sure you click on the video to see these tips discussed in real time along with some great additional tips for beginning piano players.
Stay Tuned to LessonsOnTheWeb to learn much more and achieve your dreams of playing the piano!