Practicing Small Groups For Technique

Practicing Small Groups For Technique

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 …

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How to Become A Phenomenal Sight Reader

How to Become A Phenomenal Sight Reader

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 to learn a piece of music. Studio musicians, accompanists, church musicians, each one of them needs 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 …

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How Long Should You Practice Each Day

How Long Should You Practice Each Day

Consistency Music is not learned in a day. Practicing many hours one day does not make up for missed practice on other days. Most learning is done while you sleep. There have been many studies that have found that a night of sleep can trigger significant performance improvements to a motor skill. The More Difficult the Skill the More Important Sleep Is One particular study tested participants on finger-tapping exercises. They found groups that did simple patterns with one hand …

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What Will Actually Help Your Performance Anxiety

What Will Actually Help Your Performance Anxiety

I can give public speeches, perform in groups, and give many other kinds of public performances, but a solo piano performance has always been something I’ve struggled with. When I started out in music I was a little nervous about letting people know that I was afraid to perform.  I wanted to keep it to myself. It’s embarrassing. No one else has to deal with this. Or so I thought. Through the years I’ve learned that just about everyone has …

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How to Stop Sweaty Musician Hands

How to Stop Sweaty Musician Hands

I have an embarrassing confession to make. My hands sweat. They sweat a lot. They sweat more when I’m performing, but it can even make practice difficult. The more I think about it the more they sweat. I’m a pianist, and trying to stay on the keys and play accurately is next to impossible when I have hands that are literally dripping in sweat. It’s been years since I had to worry about this though because I’ve found some techniques …

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How to Stay Focused While Practicing

How to Stay Focused While Practicing

Anyone who has spent any time practicing an instrument is familiar with the feeling of not getting anything done. This doesn’t have to apply only to music practice. You can be working on a task, but never actually get anywhere. Real progress comes from daily focused attention and deliberate practice. If we are to get better at doing something, in this case music, we can’t just say “I touched my instrument today, so I did my part.” You won’t learn …

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What Instrument Should You Learn

What Instrument Should You Learn

You know you want to learn music, but what instrument should you start on? The piano seems like the default, but guitar and drums are so cool! Maybe you could start more than one? Is it ok to start with something other than the piano? Let’s look into this question a little deeper. Piano as Your First Instrument The piano is a very versatile instrument, it has its place in classical music, pop, jazz, and just about everything else. No …

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Major Piano Pieces That Every Pianist Should Be Familiar With

Major Piano Pieces That Every Pianist Should Be Familiar With

When I started to really get into practicing piano, I bought hundreds of CD’s full of piano music. I had this desire to hear what was out there. I would listen any chance I got. I was always reading as much as I could, and if there was ever a time that I heard of some music I wasn’t familiar with, I would get out there and buy a few more CDs. I didn’t know what the staples of the …

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Improving Piano Technique the Right Way

Improving Piano Technique the Right Way

Have you ever practiced a section for weeks and weeks, but it never seems to get any better? It’s time to perform, but you just know you’ll miss that difficult part. If this scenario sounds familiar to you, then I have something that will help. You’re practicing wrong. There should never be a section that seems impossible to learn.  If you tackle the passage correctly, with almost no exceptions, you can feel comfortable with it in about a week. Not …

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7 Steps to a Successful Music Routine

7 Steps to a Successful Music Routine

Does this scenario sound familiar to you? You are on your way to your weekly music lesson and you cringe from the guilt of knowing you barely…kind of…sort of…did not practice your music this week. Or if you have children: “Johnny, did you practice your music this week?” He replies, “kinda…” You know this means a solid “no.” This seems to happen all too often, right? Each weekly lesson we make another broken promise to our music teacher that we …

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