Effective Practive & Motivation

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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


It is often helpful for students to try executing the rhythm away from the piano in order to eliminate the added challenge of trying to get the correct rhythm and pitch at the same time. There are many different ways to understand and practice rhythm; some people prefer counting, some prefer words. I often recommend that my students do the same rhythmic patterns in a variety of formats. This helps them to 'feel' the patterns as well as strengthen their 'understanding' of them.

1. Rhythmic Read each part
Rhythmic Reading involves conducting the beat with the right hand, tapping the eighth note sub-division with the left hand, and 'speaking' the rhythmic pattern. This is quite challenging and takes practice before it can be used effectively. It is almost impossible to do incorrectly which seems to help students identify whether or not they are doing it correctly.

2. Clap and Sway each part (use Ta's and/or count)
The 'swaying' is important; it helps students 'feel' the beat. Each beat is allocated to one side of the body. For example, in 4/4 time, a half note will receive one clap because it is just one note but the clap will begin on one side and the hands will remain clasped as they move from one side to the next so that the note receives two beats: one beat on each side. Four eighth notes would receive four claps but the first two claps would occur on one side of the body and the last two would occur on the other side of the body: two claps for each beat because two eighth notes equal one quarter note beat.

3. Play just the rhythm of each hand separately
(pick any note and repeat it, don't change pitch; use Ta's and/or count)

4. Play each hand separately as written (use Ta's and/or count)

5. Tap hands together (count)
The right hand will tap the rhythm of right hand part, the left hand will tap the rhythm of the left hand part

6. Finally, play it hands together (count)

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