Effective Practive & Motivation

FAQ  |  recommended resources  |  piano: bare essentials  |  Effective Practice & Motivation

Below are some of the many different aspects involved in learning how to practice the piano effectively.

Environment | Goals | Musical Form | Rhythm | Fingering | Pedal | Posture & Tension | Method | Motivation | Memory


The Damper Pedal

The damper pedal creates interesting sounds at the piano and it can be fun to explore these sounds. The damper pedal is the pedal furthest to the right and is played with the right foot. The ball of the foot should remain in contact with the pedal even after the pedal has been lifted; this will help prevent additional sound occurring as a result of the foot 'hitting' the pedal. The heel should remain in contact with the floor at all times. Students will usually feel more comfortable if they do not sit too closely to the instrument.

At first, beginning students will want to develop their coordination so that they are able to comfortably change the pedal at specific points in the music. Later, you may want to experiment with pressing the pedal to different depths which is often referred to as using ¼ pedal, ½ pedal and full pedal ( and many gradations in between!).

A common misconception is that when something sounds too blurry, the pedal needs to be changed more frequently. Although keeping the pedal down for too long can make a passage sound too blurry, sometimes a better solution will be to either adjust the amount of weight from the fingers, wrists and/or arms, or to change the depth of the pedal.

The same pedal techniques will not produce the same results on different pianos or different rooms. Good pedaling is an art; it requires constant listening and adjusting. Something else to consider is that different stylistic periods of music require different kinds of pedaling so an understanding of music history and stylistic periods is also helpful.

All content © by Donna Gross Javel