When Piano Practice Gets Overwhelming

Sometimes piano practice seems overwhelming because music is complicated and there are many layers. But never fear, there are ways to lower your blood pressure and make practice fun!

There are many parts to playing the piano. For example we have to think about dynamics, rhythms, tone, expression, phrasing, touch, melody, balance, evenness, etc…

Break the practice into smaller more manageable parts.
Make a list of musical concepts and select only one or two to master in a run through. Give yourself​ permission to let other concerns slide except the one or two concepts you selected​.
Here is a list for you to choose from:
1. Play the correct notes. Say the note names out loud before you play. Look for problem spots.
2. Play the correct rhythms. Clap the rhythm before you play the piece.
3. Look at the time signature. Clap the meter stressing the downbeat.
4. Focus on the dynamics. Be aware of crescendos, diminuendos, accents, soft and loud. Count the rhythm by speaking the subdivision (1&2&) but whisper when soft and count more loudly in forte sections. This will give you only two things to worry about.
5. Slurs, legato and other technical difficulties.  Break the song into smaller units.  Practice a legato phrase until all the notes are smooth and connected. Release by lifting the wrist at the end of the phrase.  If there is a section of two or three note slurs practice dropping and rolling the wrist upward to create a slight accent on the first note with the 2nd and 3rd notes becoming lighter. If singing feel the phrase in a circular flow.
Happy Practicing!

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