In our previous posts, we've given plenty of advice for beginners without really being specific on the age group as those actionable tips will work regardless of your age. But in this post, we focus on several piano practice tips for adults.
Whether you just started in your piano practice or are trying to relearn from your youth, these tips are sure to be beneficial to improving your piano skills.
1) Find the interest
- It's human nature to be more engrossed in what we enjoy and not sounding good enough kind of takes away that interest.
- Being scared that you won't like what you'd hear would only further discourage you from playing.
- Be excited about playing. Just tap into that vibe you once felt about wanting to play so badly and go with the feel, no matter what you hear.
2) Try to set aside an hour each day to see the most improvement.
- Not putting the time in to practice is what holds many back from making improvement.
- If it seems too much to work into your daily life that is okay too, try and alternate days to start and maybe spend a little more than an hour to hone your skills.
3) A good warm up is crucial to making improvement.
- Dedicate at good portion of your practice time to strength training your fingers.
- Run through scales using hands in unison, focus on using proper finger placements, if you have trouble moving fingers over and under when running scales slow it down and gradually pick up the pace when the movements become second nature.
- Work through the scales chromatically.
4) Learn the theory
- Start from the basics, learning the notes, chords, scales, tones, semi-tones, etc.
- Though it might seem boring internalizing all the musical terminologies, styles, techniques and what not, it does help to know them. This way when you play it's no longer guess work, you know what exactly you are doing.
- Focus on your understanding of theory and ear training to correct any mistakes you may make in Major and Minor scales.
5) Finger placement
- Correct finger placement helps the fluidity of your play. Transitions from one note or chord to the other are easier this way.
- Starting without knowing this makes it hard to run some scales or hold some chords forcing one to unlearn previous self-taught techniques to learn the ideal method, slowing down progress.
6) Flexing the fingers
- Before any playing session, whether practicing or just playing for kicks, do a couple of exercises to loosen up the fingers. Picking a scale and just going up down would suffice. You'd find that when you play afterwards, your fingers are lighter and freer.
7) Practice chords
- Pick one chord or scale for a week and explore. This helps you become familiar. Whenever you play the chord or scale you'd be more relaxed because you know it well.
- Practice playing through chords using the five finger pattern. In each key, both Major and Minor, play the five finger pattern, finish in the I chord.
- If that is too simple, introduce IV and V chords, the chords will need to be inverted to flow your fingers through the chords easily.
- Return to the I chord between playing each chord. Try it in Minor as well.
- The quicker your fingers become at transferring between finger placements the better improved your playing will become overall.
8) Keep your rhythm in mind
- If you know you have trouble keeping in time or are unsure if you are correct, have a metronome run while you practice.
- If you are practicing on a keyboard, it should have a metronome installed but if not there are plenty of apps you can install on a phone or tablet to assist you.
- Make sure to set it to the proper rhythm for the piece you want to practice on or try out different rhythms in your warm ups to get used to staying in time while you warm up.
- Structuring rhythms in your warm ups will allow you to play through your repertoire with better precision.
9) Practicing pieces or songs
- Learning piano pieces or songs teaches one patience. This is where you learn to get it right by playing repeatedly.
- Pick a song you love or a piece that has always moved you and play till it's second nature. See what happens to your discipline afterwards.
10) Limit practice time
- You don't want to practice for too long.
- 30 minutes to an hour is usually okay.
- Dreariness reduces your morale which is bad for your next session.
- Keep it fresh.
11) Take it slowly and gradually
- Start from simple to complex, taking your time to perfect one technique before moving on to the next.
- Don't learn chords before you know the notes on that key. If you don't know the notes and you try playing the chords you'd be guessing most of the time, leaving space for mistakes.
12) Can't handle music theory?
- If music theory is lost on you choose a piece you are familiar with already.
13) Can you identify the key?
- Do you know what the chords are, especially if they are not notated in the music, take some time to write in the chords so you fully understand the music.
14) Know more about the composer
- Maybe research into the composer more or their music period.
- You may find some new repertoire pieces to introduce into your practice that interest you in the same way.
15) Keep yourself accountable.
- Keep a small journal on hand to record the time you spent practicing each day.
- This only needs to be for yourself. It can serve as a guide for the direction you wish to take your practice to, reflect on your progress, or any comments you may have.
- Get in the habit of noting a couple of things you worked on each session. This does not need to go into great depth - simply list warm, rep pieces practiced and any notes you may have on them.
- If there's something that challenges you in a new piece there may be something you can introduce into your warm up time to help improve your skills.
16) Listen more, watch more
- When you are not playing, listen to riffs, piano solos, chord progressions, etc.
- Get online videos on piano lessons and observe.
- Feed your mind with melodies and it would reflect subtly when you play.
17) Enjoy your practice time
- Enjoy it. The time you set for your practice should be beneficial to you.
- Take a few steps back if you feel it's needed you may attempt to play something you are not ready for yet but with utilizing some of these tips you may be surprised in what you can accomplish.
We hope these piano practice tips for adults have helped you out!
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