Viv's Thoughts

Are you Playing OR Practising the piano?

Many students ,, when asked, "did you practise your piano this week?",, will say,, "yes, I practised the piano, in fact everyday.".
Sounds impressive .....
But when you hear them play, you may suspect they are telling you a lie.

But it may not be so.
The students' definition of practising the piano may mean ... as long they have gone through the piece,, means they have practised.

But no matter how many times they played the piece over and over again, there seemed to be no improvement,, and sometimes they even get worse.
So, they get frustrated and wonder why the more they practised, the more they make mistakes??

Before that ,, lets define how you would practise your piano?
Practising is very different from playing the piano.
if you just play "through" the piece, and NOT correcting the wrong notes or rhythm or phrasings or fingering etc,, then the MORE you play , The MORE you will "Practise" your mistakes, and your mistakes start to be more and more prominent, meaning your mistakes will keep on improving.

Hey, did you say "improving"? then isnt that good??
I said, "Your mistakes will start improving, means you will get worse, we need our skills to improve, NOT mistakes!".

So, how shall we practise?
1) Do you take a difficult passage and take in small portions and "repair" them first?
if you are having a long series of notes, take in small sub phrases, practise them in small parts, then join them later. This will enable your fingers to get used to the sequence of the notes.

2) when you are practising, did anyone compliment you are playing so beautifully?
then you are NOT practising! Cos those people who dont know your piece may hear you play quite fluently, not knowing you have learnt or played the wrong notes and rhythm etc.
So if you are doing part practice, you will certainly sound like a spoiled record, repeating again and again till your neighbors and your family get fedup of hearing you, LOL

3) are you listening to yourself?
Most students dont listen to themselves, they just play the notes and that's it.
You should also focus on the tone you produce, and beautiful and appropriate tone can only be produced by the right kind of touch using finger, wrist, forearm, full arm weight etc.
What kinda tone you want to produce depends on which part you are using. And most important, dont forget,, your EARS are to guide you to get the right tone.

So, if you are not doing any of the above, you are not practising correctly, neither you have practised at all.

So, the phrase, "Practice makes perfect" is NOT true!

 

Good practice ends up a perfect performance.
Bad practice ends up a bad performance .

So are you practising right today?

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carol winkler | Reply 11.09.2013 10:28

Great advice!

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