The Many Possibilities of Practice

[anti-rclick]April 16, 2011

中文版: 鋼琴練習變化多

Sometimes I find students have too rigid an idea on practice. What does practice equal to? Playing the songs many times?

Practice is more than playing through a piece with our hands.

Practice can be listening.

Listen to recordings of a new learnt song. Read the score when listening to the music. Compare the difference between a recording you consider good and the other bad. What has the pianist done to make the piece/phrase sound better? This is part of your practice.

Practice can be clapping.

Clap that rhythm of a tricky phrase. Get the triplets right. Clap the triplet on the right lap and the two eighths on the left lap. And how about beating the rhythm with your feet on the ground?

Once you get the rhythm, it will be as unforgettable as riding a bike.

Practice can be singing.

Sing that melody. Sing “la” or solfège. Or even the fingering (numbers). Sing the right hand melody while play the left hand accompaniment. Difficult right? But fun!

Practice can be moving.

Fix that technique. Be specific. The forearm rotation for the arpeggios. Or the trills. Or the Alberti bass. How about that scale-like passage? The transfer of weight? The lifting hand at every phrase? Practice one technique at a time. Drill it with much focus and precision.

And hey, you can improve your technique without playing any note, even away from the piano! In fact, getting the movement right goes before using it in your playing. You can practice it on the bus, on a table. Feel that weight transfer from one finger to another on a flat surface.

Practice can be reading.

Read the score of the piece you are working on, away from the piano. Can you hear the music in your head?

Read about the story behind that piece. Get to know more about the piece, the composer, the period etc. That also helps you to play better.

There are many possibilities in practice. So, be creative, and you will never get bored with your practice.

Remember though, practice is different from playing. But without practice, there is no playing.

Until next post,

Teresa Wong

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