Practise …

How often should I practise?

How should I practise?

I really haven’t got time….

I’m always talking about practise.  I’m always thinking I should practise more.  Parents often ask how much time their children should be practising.  Pupils are always apologising (or fibbing) about how much practise they have done.

In the end it’s about quality, not quantity.  A short amount of daily and focussed practise is better than an hour in one go, once a week which is unstructured.

In the early days, it’s difficult: you’ve learned hardly anything and it can take only 10 minutes to play everything you know.  At this stage it’s important to just get used to sitting at the piano and finding out what it does.  10-15 minutes a day at this point makes a huge amount of difference.  Exploring.  Playing what you’ve learned in a lesson and maybe making up something. All of this is practise.  As soon as it’s boring, stop.

When you’re more advanced it’s about finding the sticking points.   What are you working on?  What’s just not going in and feeling comfortable under the fingers?  Isolate sections, maybe even a few bars at a time and look at them on their own.  Then work backwards to what you can do.  Also play through things you know well to keep the momentum going and the enthusiasm.  Remember to keep exploring and experimenting with sounds and dynamics.

Just enjoy it.

If you get stuck ask your teacher.  Contact them if it’s a while before the next lesson.  No piano teacher I know would be unhappy to be asked what they should practise next.