There are a lot of things to keep in mind when learning piano, and sometimes it can seem overwhelming! These nine mistakes are often made by people starting to learn piano, but avoiding them will help to make your practices more effective and increase your love of playing.
1. Practicing without a metronome
The metronome can be annoying, but it is incredibly important for keeping you on time! If you practice without a metronome you risk learning incorrect rhythms that can be very hard to un-learn after your next lesson!
2. Trying to jump ahead a level
It may seem like you can ‘skip’ a level of piano and learn the harder pieces right away, but this is very rarely possible. While you might be able to learn a song or two through hard work, you lose the progressive development of your overall skills. Start at the correct level for your abilities and work your way up without skipping any – it might take a little longer, but your piano skills will be much better this way!
3. Saving all your practice for the last day
You may think that you can squeeze a week’s worth of practice into the last day before your lesson, but your piano teacher will be able to tell! Piano uses a lot of different parts of your brain (including muscle memory processes!) and practicing regularly and consistently is the best way to learn your pieces – far more effective than a single ‘cram’ session!
4. Skipping your technique
Scales and Arpeggios may not be the most interesting part of your piano practice, but they are very important in establishing hand positions, fingering, and even sight reading skills! Skipping technique limits your playing skills when it comes to your repertoire.
5. Using lazy hand positions/posture
Your piano teacher isn’t being overly strict when he asks you to sit up straight and curve your hands properly! Having the proper hand position and seated posture lets you practice for longer and helps you to avoid muscle injuries in your fingers and shoulders.
6. Not Practicing Effectively
There may be days when you don’t want to practice, but that is no excuse for doing a poor job! Sitting down and racing through your pieces without any thought at all doesn’t count as a practice session – you won’t learn anything from a practice that you don’t put effort into. Even on days you don’t feel like practicing, doing a short and focused practice is better than rushing to finish everything on your list.
7. Ignoring your teacher’s notes
The notebook full of helpful notes needs to be opened between practices! Your teacher takes the time to write down everything you need to work on specifically, and following her advice is your best recipe for success!
8. Trying to do Too Much at Once
If you are really excited about learning the piano you probably have a long list of songs that you want to work on. It’s wonderful to have a list, but only work on a few songs at a time! This allows you to give each song the focus that it needs. Otherwise you may end up with a repertoire that’s only full of half-finished songs!
9. Forgetting to Have Fun
The piano is an amazing instrument, and learning to play it should be a joy! Even still, it is possible to get overwhelmed with everything you have to learn, or to get fed up with daily practices. To combat this feeling, make a list of reasons why you love the piano and keep it nearby so that you can remind yourself what you are working so hard to accomplish! Take some time each week to play a couple of pieces just for fun and to experiment with different sounds – learning to make music should be joyful, not a burden.