For any music student dedicated to their craft, a common question is this one: “What should I practice?” This is a question for everyone from novices to experts, whether you’re taking piano lessons, guitar lessons, violin lessons or others.
At The Piano Place, we’re here to help. Our educators have experience across the music industry, with the ability to place you or your child on a learning path involving several important musical themes. Let’s look at what some of the biggest practice-related concepts are that we’ll regularly go over, both for piano and other instruments.
Technique is all about getting muscles and appendages fully loose and warmed up for playing. Think about it in a similar way to how athletes do – this is the equivalent of stretching and pre-game activities. For beginning piano students, for instance, you may play the simple five-finger scale or do some arpeggios if you’re a bit more advanced. Whatever gets you warmed up and ready to go.
Ear-training is a long-term area that you should be cognizant of during all practice sessions. Basically, it’s your ability to properly and accurately identify the sounds you hear. Can you tell a minor note from a major one? Can you track a time signature? Over time, see if you can pick up new things here.
Reading music involves not only learning what various markings on the sheet mean, but also learning to digest these quickly and play along. You can always improve at reading music, even if you’re an expert already.
At the same time, all your practice sessions should include time for improvisation, which is at the heart of music. This allows you to explore new concepts, play along to a favorite song, write your own new music or even just test out your instrument in new ways you may not have thought of (be careful not to damage anything if you’re doing this, of course).
Rhythm is a part of everything we do, particularly while playing an instrument, and it should always be a consideration as you practice. Particularly for beginners, isolating rhythm and getting good at things like whole notes, half notes and other forms can be very important for building the proper musical foundation.