Are you willing to take piano lessons but do not know where to start? Or have you played the piano for years without any sign of improvement? No matter whether a person who plays piano is an amateur or professional, the only goal he/she should have is to become a better musician and pianist. Improvement and progress are the key to success; it doesn’t matter whether you are just starting or have been playing piano for over a decade. To strengthen your fingers and constantly challenge yourself to improve, below are various methods for you to become a better piano player.
If you are aware of the basic chords and technicalities, learning piano can become very easy. Practicing consistently, and having patience and proper support and guidance from mentors and peers, piano learning becomes child’s play. Below are the 17 piano tips and tricks for beginners.
01. Managing Your Practice Time
If you are the type of person who practices only in your free time, then that might be a major reason why you have not seen much improvement. Practicing piano should not be your last priority. If it’s at the bottom of the list along with cleaning the toilet, you won’t get anywhere. You must have a scheduled hour every day when you sit and practice piano properly. It could be every other day for two hours in the evening or one hour each weekday. Committing to a practice hour is very important to improve your skills, so do not let anything deter you from practicing. Being focused and committed to practicing is as important as finding a good teacher. If you can somehow manage some extra time, try to add it to your practice routine.
02. Practicing Sight-Reading
A good way to practice is by practicing the same note again and again until you play it perfectly, but switching it up sometimes by adding a random piece into the mix is also a good approach. While practicing sight-reading, do not be afraid of making mistakes. Simply play the note from the beginning and try to finish up to your best ability. Then try doing it again and again for good measure. If you are interested in joining a band or orchestra, this type of training is very essential as it enhances your improvisation skills. Making mistakes is not a thing to be disappointed or burdened with. Consider your mistakes a very important part of the learning process. This way you will find practicing piano is quite enjoyable and fun.
03. Slow Down
Many people think that the true test of a musician is how fast he/she can play. While playing quickly comes with practice and experience, those who play too quickly might miss notes and play sloppily. Sometimes beginners rush through the section and miss notes. Do not do that. Pause the metronome, slow down, and practice it until you do it right. Irrespective of how well you know the piece, practicing it slowly every three or four run-throughs will help you master it. After all, if you can’t play a piece slowly, how can you expect to play it fast?
04. Keep Challenging Yourself
This might sound absurd, but many pianists stop challenging themselves once they become semi-proficient at playing the instrument. An athlete needs to lift heavier weights to gain strength. Similarly, piano players should practice more difficult pieces in order to improve. If you can’t decide the piece to challenge yourself with, ask your tutors to do it for you. They can guide you well since they are aware of your strengths and weaknesses. They will help you pick a challenging piece but not an impossible one to practice. For instance, if your left hand is weak, then they might help you to pick pieces that focus on your left hand.
05. Make Sure Your Goals Are Realistic
Always set realistic goals, whether it is to become a music theory master or learn a piece from beginning till the end. If becoming an overnight success is your expectation then think again. Mastering an instrument requires dedication, hard work, and plenty of practice. We tend to dream big. If you are finding it hard to meet your goals, take a pause and reevaluate. Make a list and check it with your tutor. Tutors are the best people to rely on since they know your current skill set and will be able to tell you whether your goals are realistic or not.
06. Playing Classical Music
Many people think classical music is very boring. Classical music might not be trending today, but it’s widely known for its technicalities. Once you understand the technicalities of classical music, after learning some complex pieces you will start seeing improvement in your technical abilities. Classical music not only gives you a solid foundation of basics to expand from, but it also helps you to become a well-rounded musician. Choosing pieces that challenge you ensures proper improvement rather than playing the things that you already know. Pieces by Bach and Chopin are really good picks to start from.
07. Practice Playing in Public
It’s very important as a pianist to get used to playing in public without getting nervous. If you wish to get big someday then you should start by putting on a mini recital for your loved ones. Feeling comfortable during a performance is very important, no matter if the audience is made up of one or one hundred. Once you have reached a comfort level with your parents, call your friends and cousins and do a little recital. Take part in mini public events like Christmas parties, school functions, etc. to gain confidence. Eventually, playing in front of others won’t be a big deal to you. Sweaty palms and nervousness will be a thing of the past.
08. Ear Training
One of the best ways to improve your technique is by listening to other professional pianists. Ear training helps you to improvise and is an excellent way to learn from professional masters and be inspired by their style and hand movements.
09. A Flexible Approach
Generally, beginning pianists apply too much pressure to the piano while practicing which produces a loud, unpleasant sound and can also cause cramps. Do not hit the keys. Practice in a way that your fingers float over them softly and smoothly. When you are relaxed, your hands can be easily controlled, and you can reach the faraway keys faster.
10. Maintain a Proper Rhythm
Rhythm and tempo are one of the basic elements of any music piece and cannot be messed up at any cost. Practicing the rhythm of the piano song, even if you are not sure about the chords or notes required, is very important. If the rhythm is intact, most errors can be easily covered up during recitals.
11. Finger Movement, Hand Position
Starting with your preferred hand is better than going with both. Practicing one by one with both hands makes it easier to grasp correct hand movements. Once familiar, you can gradually progress to using both hands simultaneously. Most teachers teach hand techniques one by one. Once you succeed at that, try to use both hands; this way your coordination will improve, and you can play the piano more efficiently.
12. Memorize Your Music
It is not at all mandatory to memorize all the notes and chords, but it can surely simplify your playing. Dividing and practicing music pieces into sections is a very good method to learn. Practicing before sleeping helps you retain the music better since it is the last thing on your mind before you go to sleep.
13. Focus on Accuracy and Not Speed
A lot of practice is needed for speed playing. Beginners should focus on hitting the right keys rather than hitting them fast. Concentrating on efficiency and accuracy should be the goal for amateurs. Speed develops with time.
14. Play Each Section Separately
As an amateur, it is very difficult to cope with the changing chords and notes in the music piece. Dividing the music into different sections can help you with this problem. For example, start with quarter notes and then gradually switch to eighth and then sixteenth notes. Always try to maintain a sense of continuity by adding the previous section to your present one.
15. Sight-Reading Music Technique
In order to understand your music better, sight-reading is a very smart technique. Beginners develop awareness of the body in space, i.e., proprioception skills. Most musicians lose their grip on reality when they get lost in the notes. Sight-reading helps you to stay on track so you can anticipate upcoming notes and plan accordingly.
16. Consistent Practice
Practice makes perfect. Be it notes, chords, or playing techniques, everything gets better with practice. Warm up by playing keys and notes before moving on to the actual piece. Spending your first fifteen minutes practicing the fundamentals helps to improve your powers of retention.
17. Finding the Correct Music Piece
Your music teacher will help you to select a perfect piece to practice that involves all the fundamentals. If not, then you can search for appropriate ones on the internet. Many websites had PDFs and eBooks. Fake Book is one such eBook for beginners. It contains popular melodies and songs with some extra information about chord structure, helping beginning pianists to replicate them on a keyboard.
Some simple tricks that every amateur pianist should know:
- Start with black keys.
- Take it easy; play slowly.
- Chromatic platform is good for practicing scales
- Begin slowly and gradually increase your speed.
- The thumb is important; do not forget it.