Research has shown over and over that people who set goals are typically the most successful. These people accomplish more than their non goal setting counterparts, and they tend to report to be more happy. If this is the case, you think everyone would be jumping over themselves to set goals for their lives. The problem is, few people set goals and even fewer keep them. Only 8% of people who set new year’s resolutions actually keep them.
Learning an instrument on your own just isn’t going to work. If you want to progress quickly, we all know that you need a teacher. Why is a teacher so important? One major reason is just because they are an educated third party listening to your playing.
You practice constantly preparing diligently for an upcoming performance, but it’s just not enough. You need someone to listen and critique so you can make appropriate changes. Lessons are usually held once a week, and it’s great that you can get your teacher’s feedback that often, but it’s not enough. You need this feedback daily. One way to get this specific feedback is to record yourself.
Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? It’s a pretty simple concept. It states that 80% of your results are produced by 20% of your work. That’s basically it. If you’re a musician, constantly practicing the days away, you’re often looking for ways to practice more efficiently. Of course you are. If you can get 2 hours worth of work done in twenty minutes that could really change things for you.
If you consistently work on applying the 80/20 rule to your practice time, and even just your life, you’ll find time you didn’t know you had.
Going back to the basics is some of the most advanced learning and teaching starts. When teaching beginners how to play piano, often they are taught to start from a “five-finger position” on the keyboard. When students progress to more advanced music, normally the five-finger positions aren’t talked about anymore. Sometimes these positions, often referred to as five-finger positions, are used as a crutch by beginning students. Teachers tend to use them as teaching tools for beginners, but then they go away. For advanced students it’s like they don’t exist.
Even with advanced piano music though, the five-finger position should be taught indefinitely. It’s an important component to piano technique because it’s the natural state of our hand.
What age should a child start piano lessons? There are varying thoughts on the subject. Many teachers feel very strongly that a student must know their numbers, letters, and how to read first. These teachers usually feel comfortable teaching a student as young as 5. Of course this varies by teacher, but you’ll be able to find many teachers that will start a student at that age.
When a child is younger than 5, however, there are many different obstacles that come into play. It doesn’t have to be this way though. Students can start at 3. Lessons do need to be adjusted, and expectations changed, but if handled correctly a 3 year old can get amazing results from their piano lessons.
As a musician there will surely come a time when you need to memorize music. Learning how our brain works is extremely important, so that we can maximize our memorizing effectiveness. Too many musicians rely on just one form of memory, when in reality there are at least four different ways to memorize a piece of music.
Music that is well memorized can be written out note by note by the musician. Music that is not well memorized, can only be performed at the instrument from beginning to end.
You’ll find exactly how to avoid memory slips in performance as you continue reading.
When I decided to be a musician, I would almost be offended when someone said musicians didn’t make money. It was a defense mechanism because I knew I would need to make money as an adult, but I also needed to play music. There are definitely ways to make a living doing what you love, but you must have the desire and drive to work at them because it may not be quite as easy as getting a full time job somewhere and receiving a steady pay check.
Far too often I’ve seen students will begin music lessons excited to learn, but then a few months go by and for whatever reason they lose interest. Practicing stops. Progress stops. Eventually the parents notice, and inevitably the parent will say, “Music just isn’t for little Johnny.”
But why does this happen? Why did they go into learning an instrument with so much excitement only to soon loose interest? Is it because learning to play an instrument is just that boring? Perhaps the better question is, “how do we better motivate kids to continue with music lessons indefinitely?”
Technique is often the most practiced skill for young musicians. Many musicians practice it inefficiently, though, which can lead to frustration.
Often heard complaints in the practice room include “Why can’t I get this passage up to speed?” or “I can never seem to play this section without mistakes.”
These complaints can be largely resolved by practicing small groups of notes at a time. This way of practicing is not often taught to students, but it can resolve just about every technical complaint quickly.
If you’ve always struggled with technical passages, or your students have a hard time with them, read on.
Sight reading is an important skill that every musician needs. It may be one of your most marketable skills as a musician. In the real world, unless you are a concert musician, you often don’t have a lot of time with a piece of music. Studio musicians, accompanists, church musicians, each one of them need to do a healthy amount of sight reading in their daily jobs.
Like all other musical skills, sight reading is learned. That’s not to say you won’t learn the basics of sight reading by just being a musician, but you likely won’t get proficient at it unless you practice specifically sight reading consistently.