Piano Lessons at Caroline Springs School of Music Practice Tips
9 May 2014
For those of you enrolled in our piano lessons at Caroline Springs School of Music the following tips and suggestions should be of great benefit to your musical progress here.
Purchase the best quality instrument you can afford. We recommend Wertheim Pianos as used in our teaching studios. Prices begin at $4795. Wertheim pianos are the best value for money quality pianos on the market. For those who find the price of an acoustic piano prohibitively expensive we recommend Hemmingway digital pianos – prices begin at $595. For very young beginners a keyboard may substitute for a piano but this is not a good long term solution as the touch of a real piano is essential in fostering correct technique.
Consistent practice – Attending your lessons and practising all material covered is obviously essential if you wish to make any real progress. Lots of small practice sessions are always better than one big session. Any serious student should aim for a minimum 1 hour practice a day. For very young students anywhere from 5 - 20 mins a day may be sufficient. Only practice the one thing for as long as you are mentally fresh.
Bring your books to your lesson! – Each student should own a practice diary or manuscript book along with a method book and an exam grade book. It is an absolute must to bring your books EVERY week. We have students who have never once not brought books in ten years of lessons and others who forget their books every second week. Leaving books at home is usually a very good sign of having undertaken no practice that week.
Practice EVERYTHING that is covered in our lessons – Eg. Scales and technical work, Repertoire, Aural, sight reading and general knowledge. All exam material from each grade should be practiced for a full year. If the student is practicing regularly new material from ones method book should be covered every week.
Check our Youtube channel. All piano grade pieces are presently being uploaded to our Youtube channel – these should be checked regularly- are you playing everything the same as on the videos?
Know your music history – I had the great pleasure of teaching one of our young piano students recently and was very impressed at his knowledge of JS Bach, the Baroque and every aspect of general knowledge required at his grade level – Well done Noah! Studying the meaning, background and development of all our grade pieces is essential if we really wish to play them well. The title of any piece should be well understood BEFORE we commence learning to play it – What is A Bouree, a Minuet, a Gigue? If we don’t know what the title means it is impossible to play the piece correctly.
Try to learn at least one small new thing each session – this may be a phrase or two of each piece, a new scale a new chord. Keep your practice organic and alive by regularly introducing new material.
Always use the correct fingers. Aside from mentally learning the notes of each piece the physical aspect of performing is of the utmost importance. Inconsistent fingering will lead to many mistakes.
Turn difficult passages into exercise – We have made this point many times before as the worthiness of this practice is often underestimated. Students will often play easy passages fast and then have to slow down in difficult sections; this obviously destroys the flow of the piece. By turning difficult sections into exercises we end up having a well rounded performance, complete in all areas.
A common mistake made by students and less highly credentialed teachers (none of whom work here of course, they are just up the road) is to learn a whole piece right hand only then left hand. It is much better to take a small section and work on both hands together right from the start.
I hope that has been of help to you, remember to keep an eye on our weekly blogs for more tips and points to remember along the way. Feel free at anytime to call (03) 9363 0662 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss any of the aforementioned.
Principal Instructor at Caroline Springs School of Music