Mistakes are the stepping stones to success alright, but it doesn’t take long for these errors to be ingrained in your habits permanently, damaging your prospects of doing well with the piano. There is anyways so much to handle while learning the piano, such as correct technique and a proper practice routine, that casualness and laxity are certain spoilers.
For any amateur, the intricate aspects of piano playing become all the more overwhelming. You do not have to worry, we’ve unearthed some of the significant musical mistakes that a beginner can commit and more importantly, how you can avoid them:
Some Commonly Misinterpreted Concepts and Techniques Cleared
Before we begin with the mistakes and their solutions, join us for a look into the commonly misinterpreted terms and concepts of piano playing:
- Keys and notes are not the same
- The clef refers to a higher pitch range and can be played by either hand
- Using only C major (or only the white keys) while playing
- Sharps and flats are not the black keys (in fact it’s the vice versa!)
- Looking at your hands while playing is not always helpful
Incorrect Finger Technique – The Success Cancer
Following a correct hand movement and finger technique is the core of every session of fantastic piano playing. Practicing a set fingering technique every time you play a musical piece also helps you build some heavy duty muscle memory. Hand movements are designed to enable pianists to reach the faraway keys easily without camping up. An inconsistent finger technique makes the pianist unsure and insecure. Don’t slouch while playing the piano. Correct posture is as important as proper finger technique.
Irregular Practice Hours – Certain Downfall
Most students face the challenge of balancing personal commitments and practice time, a very difficult feat to achieve, especially for working adults. Try to maintain a regular and consistent practice schedule. This not only sets the right mood for playing but also helps you focus better. Remember, procrastinating will get you nowhere. Follow a set routine than catch up on all the practice in a day. Break the music into sections and devote requisite time upon each part.
Hitting the Keys Aggressively – It’s Ugly
Beginners tend to hit the keys a bit too aggressively for producing a more pronounced sound. This not only destroys the rhythm of the piece but also sounds very unpleasant. Budding pianists would do well to start slow, gliding their hands over the keys lightly. Most piano tutors focus on separate hand practices, and while this simplifies the playing, remember to avoid playing the entire piece with one hand. Also, concentrate on accuracy and not speed; speed comes with time.
Avoiding the Scales – It Pulls You Down
Scales and arpeggios can be pretty cumbersome and are not exactly the highlight of your practice sessions, but understanding the music before you play it is what adds life to your practice sessions. The theoretical part of the piano is as crucial as actually playing it! Learn all you can about the different chords and keys, the building blocks of any musical piece. Also, ear training is another useful technique that can help you memorize any music piece better.
Always Starting from the Beginning – Doesn’t Work
Another mistake that almost all pianists make is starting from the beginning. Practicing the entire piece every time is not only exhausting but also promotes a more lopsided development where the student can play the starting section perfectly but his performance dwindles gradually towards the end.
A more practical approach is to divide the piece into many sections and focus on the problem areas. Maintain continuity in music, add a few ending chords to the section you’re playing to establish a proper rhythm and harmony.
Overdoing It – The Cardinal Sin
Excessive practice doesn’t really help much. On the contrary, it can exhaust the mind and tamper with your technique, thereby affecting your performance. Spending long hours by the trying to comprehend the keys and complicated chord structure only makes matters worse. Try shortening the sessions with occasional breaks in between. Aggressive practicing doesn’t improve your performance, it only makes you more nervous. So cut some slack, piano playing is fun!
The Bottom Line
Watch out for these common mistakes and try avoiding them the next time you sit down for your piano practice sessions.
Featured Image: Image Credit
Sometimes my neighbour plays the piano and I can hear it through the walls. It’s just lovely.
— Jack Howard (@JackHoward) December 16, 2016
I need to remember to live my life. Try something new. Maybe take up piano or knitting or faking my own death or something.
— Pale Christmas Rider (@truegritrumble) December 16, 2016
How To Practice Piano – Use Your Time Tips
Do you want to learn more about how to practice piano? Today I want to talk about one of the biggest piano practice mistakes that I see jazz piano students make.
Many people desperately want to sound better and have more fun at the piano.
Yet, when it comes to piano practice, they don’t use their time wisely.
They may play for several hours at a time but they skip days regularly.
And they only sit down to practice for 1 or 2 days a week.
They figure, well if I get in a 7 hours a week total it’s still cool even though they’re cramming all their practice into 2 days and skipping a bunch of days in between.
This is a huge mistake! Via Free Jazz Lessons
How to Practice the Piano
With a busy schedule, learning how to practice the piano efficiently is very important to progress. It may sound strange but practising piano can reinforce mistakes if done inefficiently.
As a piano teacher, I find this practice method (handed down from my own teachers) so invaluable that I teach it to all my students. It is very tedious at first glance but this is really the fastest way to learn a piece!
There are many benefits to learning piano so don’t give up and keep on practising effectively to get better!
Focusing on objectives is important and also putting your eyes, ears, hands and heart into it! Via Private Piano Teacher
Top five mistakes when learning to play the piano
One of the most frustrating things about learning to play piano is ironing out old mistakes. When I started, I wanted quick results, so I skipped all the things I thought were unnecessary. As a result, I picked up some bad habits that were a huge pain to break later.
But you don’t have to fall into the same traps! Here’s my personal list of the top five of things you’ll hopefully do better than I did:
Mistake #1: Poor Posture
When I started, I didn’t pay much attention to how I sat at the piano. I now know that posture at the piano is one of the most important basics! Sit too low or too high, too close or too far away and you’ll end up with stiff shoulders and backaches. Via Flow Key