Playing the piano or keyboard is a fun activity that is beneficial for many reasons. However, to be playing like Mozart takes a lot of practice and time. To be a good piano player the, time spent practising is not as important compared to effective practice. Sure, you could keep playing the same piece or scales for an entire hour, but with that, your sight reading skills suffer and become poor. You need to achieve a balance during sessions.
The first tip is to actually practice. Keeping your keyboard or piano in a place that you don’t go to often is not encouraging for practice at home. Place your instrument in a location that you can see like, your room or living room where it is easily accessible. This encourages you to remember that you need to practice whenever you look at the piano.
Getting rid of distractions before you start is an important step to have a good practice session. Ask your family to not interrupt you once you starting playing the piano. Keep your phone away or turn it on airplane mode so that notifications do not get in the way. These distractions can reduce the quality of your practice which is not good.
Set a time to practice every day. You should set aside a particular time every day for piano practice. Along with that, set precise goals for each session. Write down a few monthly goals and break them down into weekly goals. Break down your weekly goals into daily goals and try achieving them every day. It’s important to note that you should set realistic goals instead of unachievable ones or else you will feel demotivated when you don’t finish them. Saying that you want to learn an entire sonata in 1 hour is probably not realistic for most people, so be careful about how doable your goals are. Once you tick off everything you need to do in a day, you will feel more satisfied and motivated to practice the next day.
Make sure that your practice sessions are structured. Dedicated time to the various aspects of piano playing and stick with it. Before playing, loosen up your wrists and perform some hand exercises. Warming up is essential to loosen up the fingers and get them fluid enough for the practice session later. Playing through some scales or improvising are perfect warm-up exercises, that are also good for improving your technique. Then, play through your pieces and most importantly, the tricky parts of the piece you are learning. Don’t blindly play through the part of the piece that you are comfortable with but try to learn the parts where you always get stuck.
A part of instrument learning that many beginning pianists ignore is music theory, but music theory forms the fundaments of piano playing. Another skill that young pianists tend to ignore is sight-reading, but it is an important skill for pianists. Practising pieces with a metronome is important to get correct and accurate timing which forms the basis of instrument playing. If you are playing a particularly fast piece, practice it at a slower tempo first and then speed the piece up incrementally.
Remember to take breaks because they are essential when learning new information. If you practice for 1 hour, try taking a break for 10 mins after your warm-up. Maybe listen to music during this time or go through your sheet music and section the piece. Long, continuous practice sessions are tiring and just not worth it. Even concert pianists do not practice for extended periods and take breaks throughout sessions.
Piano practice is a fun activity so have fun throughout the process. Once you achieve your goals for the day, reward yourself by watching an episode of your favourite show or eating something you love. It should be enjoyable from start to finish. In the end, play through your piano tunes that you already love and enjoy the process!