Whether you’ve just started playing piano or have been practicing with the instrument for years, there will likely come times when you want to improve your skill. Playing any instrument is lovely, but playing an instrument well is a particularly enjoyable experience—feeling music and emotion flowing out of you and vibrating into the air, whether or not someone else is listening. The following will explore a few things you can do to improve your piano playing skills. The focus will be on steps that even beginners can employ, but, of course, experienced players will still find things they can apply to their musical practice.
Listen To The Greats
The truth is humans don’t know that much about music. We know that we like it and that, for some reason, all of us, no matter where we’re from or what era we live in, encounter it. Similar to dreaming in that we know there is something deeper going on, but we can’t quite explain it. Scientists have watched our brains respond to music in awe; archaeologists use it to study people from the past; Noam Chomsky has presented the idea that music is an ancient language that humans spoke before we scattered across the globe, and musicians commonly associate their musical experiences with divine or spiritual forces. Listen to the pianists that are widely considered the greatest. Ideally, do this without the lights on or other tasks in your hands. Music can communicate so much from the player to the listener; if you listen to several players play the same song, in particular, you’ll be able to hear the difference. Contemplate what that special extra element is that brilliant players put into their music. Without realizing it, you will pick up emotive elements of playing.
Study Music Theory Once Per Week
Possibly beginning in ancient Greece, music theory is the study of why music has the effect that it does. Fundamentals include learning to read music, playing scales, studying key signatures, chord building, and composing with forms. While it might, at first, seem stuffy to focus so much on theory rather than practice, this knowledge helps musicians pull off spontaneous compositions and jam sessions as well as better connect with their listeners. Music theory might also explain to you better what it is you love about music and help you hone in on it.
Pick Songs You Love And Learn Them
One of the best ways to get better at anything is to practice. When it comes to music, practice becomes infinitely easier when you’re learning a song you love. Find some downloadable sheet music for songs that speak to your soul and take the time to learn them. Continue to practice your favorites until you can play them without much thought.
As mentioned above, music interacts with the brain and the human psyche in a not-entirely understood way. One thing that people have noticed is that consistent practice can help people learn music much faster than inconsistent practice. To effortlessly play music requires the formation of new neural pathways in the brain. One of the best ways to add, alter or improve neural pathways is by revisiting them consistently. Aim for several smaller practice sessions in a week rather than one or two bigger ones.
Practice With Improvement In Mind
All too often, people think they’re practicing when they’re not building their skillset. If you play the same piece you’ve mastered, again and again, your improvement will begin to plateau. You want to be working on measurable improvements, one at a time. Focus on one element you want to improve and choose tasks during your practice that you find challenging and that target that particular element.
When you’re practicing, a wonderful step can involve recording yourself. When you listen to the playback, you’ll be better able to hear areas in need of improvement than when you’re in the moment and thinking about the next thing you have to do. This will also help you figure out if there are mistakes you’re making that you haven’t noticed. Mistakes that become habits are much harder to fix than mistakes made once or twice.
The above information should help you improve your piano playing skills. It’s important to remind yourself that music is an ethereal, magical aspect of existence, and there is no such thing as mastering it. You can play for a hundred years and still learn something new. Given this, it’s important not to expect yourself to reach perfection quickly (or at all). Let the learning take as long as it takes.