How Much Should I Practice Piano Each Day?

Depending on your age, your physical health, and your level of expertise, the amount you should be practicing the piano is going to vary substantially. Everybody learning the instrument should be practicing piano each day, but how long should your daily piano practice go for, and what should it involve? Here are just a few of the things to consider when setting the length of your piano practice.

The Bare Necessities

A certain amount of practice every day is necessary to ensure that your piano skills don’t go backwards. There’s more than just allegorical truth to the notion that you become what you routinely do; when you skip practice, even just a couple of days, the neural pathways and muscle memories you have built up start to fade away.

It’s a bit like being an athlete; even if you’re already super fit, it’s important to go to the gym if you want to keep it that way! As a minimum, do five minutes of practice every day so you can retain what you’ve previously learned.

How Much Do You Have to Practice in Order to Get Better?

Different people improve at playing the piano at different rates. Additionally, your progress won’t always chart as a straight line going up; experienced players sometimes spend years feeling as though they’ve plateaued. There will be struggles, gaps, dips, and, thankfully, the occasional epiphany – those glorious moments where you can suddenly do things you never thought yourself capable of!

The important thing is to put the time in. You can’t necessarily predict when you’re going to get better, but your likelihood of having a breakthrough is much higher if you’re practicing regularly. Beginners should aim to practice for at least thirty minutes a day.

Keep it Focused

It’s not just the amount of time you practice: it’s the way you use it. Just like anything else, it takes longer to complete an activity you’re dreading than one you’re enthusiastic about. Nobody ever got better just sitting and staring at the keys. In a focused and dedicated manner, try to use all of your practice time wisely.

Don’t Over Exert Yourself!

As important as it is to practice often and well, you have to be mindful not to take it too far. Over-practicing, or practicing in the wrong way, can lead to all sorts of trouble, like muscular pain or a repetitive strain injury.

A small level of discomfort might be normal or even necessary, but an injury that prevents you from practicing in the future is going to be worse for you in the long run.

Practice Makes Perfect on the Perfect Piano

Make sure you’re practicing the right things, in the right way, with the right equipment. Whether you need a new piano, a tuning, or a new teacher, The Pianoforte can help. We’ve been Sydney’s leading experts for the last thirty years, and with three stores open seven days a week, it’s easy to contact us or pop-in for a visit. Call us in:

  • Chatswood – (02) 9411 8911
  • Rydalmere – (02) 9898 9887
  • Seven Hills – (02) 9838 8832

Guide to Piano Practice With a Metronome

Some people seem to have an innate sense of rhythm, but for most people, accurately keeping time when playing music is difficult to master. Drummers and percussionists often only develop good timing after years of practice. It’s similar for piano players; whether you’re playing on your own or as part of an ensemble, learning how to keep time and pace can be a hard-won skill. That’s why practicing with a metronome is so important. Playing piano with metronome accompaniment helps you measure out the piece, approach it at the right tempo, and keep steady time. Here are just a few of the things you’ll need to know when you’re practicing the piano with a metronome: 

What is a Metronome?

In Greek, the word ‘metronome’ means ‘law of the measure’, an appropriate name since the device sets the rules for the pace of a piece. Metronomes, which can either be analogue or digital, emit a sound on each beat. On an old-fashioned metronome, you can set the speed of the beat by sliding a weight up and down the pendulum-like shaft. More recently, keyboards have had electronic metronomes built into them. Most metronomes can be set anywhere from 40 to 240 beats per minute; very few songs would be faster or slower than that.

Identify technical issues

Technical issues might be detracting from your playing without you even realising. By playing a piece with a metronome, sections where a player is dragging or rushing become glaringly obvious. A good way of identifying where you might need to work is by playing one bar at a time, or scales, to the clicking of a metronome. It’s wise to pay close attention to any sections where the rhythm becomes uneven.

Get Up to Speed

When you’re practicing privately, it’s often necessary to play a piece much slower than you would when performing publicly. There’s so much to consider when learning a piece of music like the dynamics, where to accent, and figuring out how to solve technical problems (like playing Rachmaninoff when you have small hands!)

With a metronome, you can start playing a piece at a slower rate, giving you time to get your ears around all the different elements at play. Then, as you solve some of the problems the piece presents, you can gradually increase the beats per minute until it’s ready to play for others.

Play to the Right Beat

Make sure you’re practicing the right things, in the right way, with the right equipment. Whether you need a new metronome, or a new teacher to help you use one correctly, The Pianoforte can help. We’ve been Sydney’s leading experts for the last thirty years, and with three stores open seven days a week, it’s easy to contact us or pop-in for a visit. Call us in:

  • Chatswood – (02) 9411 8911
  • Rydalmere – (02) 9898 9887
  • Seven Hills – (02) 9838 8832

What to Look for in a Piano Teacher

What to Look for in a Piano Teacher

When you’re organising piano lessons, either for yourself or your children, it’s important that you choose the right instructor. Great educators discover talent and inspire a passion for learning. On the other hand, the wrong teacher can irreparably spoil a subject for life! Here are just a few things to look out for when selecting a private piano teacher.

Personality is more important than you might think.

Learning a musical instrument is hard work, and mastery requires countless hours of practice. People who aren’t motivated to learn are far less likely to put the effort in. That’s why it’s vital to have good personal chemistry in a student-teacher relationship; you want a teacher who you look forward to seeing and who gives you the confidence you need to improve, rather than an instructor with whom learning feels like a chore.

What are you hoping to get out of Piano lessons?

Who you choose as a piano teacher depends on what, precisely, you want to learn. For example, let’s say that Jazz is your passion, and your dream is to get to the point where you can improvise a solo with a band. If that were the case, it would probably be remiss to select as your instructor a harpsichord enthusiast who refuses to listen to any piece of music composed after the eighteenth century. Conversely, if you’ve got your sights set on classical virtuosity, make sure you choose somebody with the insight and know-how to help you reach your goals. As with any field of endeavour, if you have a clear idea of where you want to go, it’s much easier to establish how to get there.

Make sure the price is right.

Just because somebody is charging more doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the superior teacher. Make sure you do your due diligence and ensure that you’re getting a good price, as well as a good piano teacher. Similarly, a convenient location will help cut down on the time and money you’re spending.

A Good Piano for a Good Piano Teacher

Now you know what to look for in a piano teacher, but that’s only half the preparation needed to start lessons! Do you need to buy a piano? Maybe you already have one but require tuning or a repair.

No matter what you need, the team at The Pianoforte will be able to help you out. We’ve been Sydney’s leading experts for the last thirty years, and with three stores open seven days a week, it’s easy to contact us or pop-in for a visit. Call us in:

  • Chatswood – (02) 9411 8911
  • Rydalmere – (02) 9898 9887
  • Seven Hills – (02) 9838 8832

How to Keep Up with Piano Homework

Keeping up with piano homework is one of the biggest hurdles that beginner pianists encounter. In between work or study, family time and social events, it can seem impossible to find time to practice your instrument. However, if you’re serious about learning piano, regular practice is the single most important thing you can do to improve your skills. We’ve listed our top tips to help you stay on track with your piano homework.

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Learning on a Digital Piano vs Learning on an Acoustic Piano

If you’re interested in learning to play the piano, it’s essential that you have an instrument at home to practice on. The choice of digital piano vs acoustic piano can be a tricky decision to make. While both have their benefits, some players are naturally drawn to one or the other. To help you make up your mind, we’ve written the handy guide that explains some of the major differences between digital and acoustic pianos.

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How Long Does It Take to Become Good at Piano?

It takes time to master any skill, whether it’s learning a foreign language or playing a new sport. Learning to play piano is no different. It takes time, effort and commitment to become a proficient pianist. How long it takes to achieve your goal depends on what you wish to achieve. If you’re interested in memorising a few simple songs, you could learn the basics of piano in a few weeks or months. But if your goal involves playing professionally or in an orchestra, you’re in for a lifetime of constant learning and practice.

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Mastering Sight Reading

Sight-reading is an essential skill that all piano players must learn. Most pianists don’t have the opportunity or ability to memorise an entire piece of music, so it’s important to be able to play and read at the same time. Some beginner pianists can feel overwhelmed by the prospect of learning to sight read. However, with a little dedication and commitment, sight reading mastery is possible for any musician. We’ve listed some useful hints to help you get started and stay motivated.

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Common Piano Problems for Beginners

Learning to play piano for the first time can be a rewarding experience, but many beginners often report frustration and discouragement. Piano is not an easy instrument to play, and it’s only natural that new students will make a few mistakes here and there. Many beginning pianists tend to make the same mistakes when starting out. It’s important to correct some of these common mistakes before falling into bad habits.

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4 Ways Learning Piano Benefits Your Brain

As any musician or music teacher can tell you, there are a huge range of benefits of learning music. Although it can be a tricky skill to pick up at first, the cognitive benefits are absolutely worth it. Scientists are becoming increasingly interested in how music can affect the brain, and recent research indicates there could be endless benefits to learning an instrument. Whether you’re looking to boost your memory, improve your multitasking skills or even reduce stress, learning the piano could be the key.

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Upgrading Your Piano

Upgrading Your Piano

It’s easy to become attached to your old piano. Many musicians have a soft spot for the first piano they ever played and tend to hang on to it for years. While the nostalgia-value of an old instrument is nice, you may wish to upgrade your piano if you’ve outgrown it. Read more