Hey you. Do you wanna be awesome at the piano?
Ok this is not for you.
But if you DO… read on.
I’m a HUGE fan of what I like to call “quick wins”. These are small things that can make an immediate and noticeable difference in your playing.
They’re super fun and helpful.
But they won’t make you awesome.
Because what is awesome?
You know it when you see it (and hear it). When you see someone playing the piano and you’re gobsmacked. You’re in awe (hence – awesome).
And you think, ”How? Just … how?!”
As amazing and inspiring as it can be. It can also be pretty demotivating…
IF YOU THINK THEY GOT THERE OVERNIGHT.
Excellence and awesomeness do not happen overnight. For every beautiful and stunning performance that you see, there are thousands of hours of practice and mistakes that have gone into it.
It’s like an iceberg (you might have seen this on our Instagram):
That can sound demotivating. But think of it this way. Practice and hard work make someone an awesome piano player.
And those are two things that are 100% in your control. You can practice. You can work hard.
That means you can be awesome at the piano.
Here’s how to get started.
Technique is the key to achieving levels of awesomeness. But technique practice can be boring. Like really boring.
So here’s my technique practice routine. It keeps me engaged and motivated to keep coming back and working on the things that will make the most difference in the long run.
When I say pick a key I mean pick ONE. You DON’T have to learn all the scales at once. It took me YEARS to learn them all.
I suggest choosing one key and sticking with it for a week or longer. It’s a great way to approach learning new keys without pressure. You’ll get to know it really well and develop a healthy relationship with it 🙂
Start with the warmup. Just play the scale up and down a few times to get those fingers moving and ready to work.
As you play the scale, try to think of it as the ingredients for all the cool improvisations and songs you’ll play in the future.
Get to know the notes. Feel comfortable playing them.
Playing scales up and down will get real boring, real fast. It also has limited musical application because there aren’t a lot of songs that just consist of up and down scales.
So now you need to move on.
There are a couple of ways to do this. The main thing you want to focus on is shifting your brain out of “autopilot” mode. You want to be engaged while you’re practicing so that you’ll get better.
So to get engaged you could try:
This last tip is a fantastic way to quickly increase your scale knowledge. Relative minor scales have the exact same notes as the major scale. They just start on a different root note.
We have some more ways to make your scale practice fun here.
The biggest thing I want you to remember about chord practice is this:
Be kind to yourself.
It can be too easy to get self-critical and frustrated if things don’t go the way you think they should.
Start simple. Just play a chord in root position. Then gradually work through your chord inversions until you’re comfortable.
Again, this can be boring if all you do is play chords in different inversions. The key is finding a way to make it musical and engaging.
You can do this by holding the pedal down and pulsing on the root note in your left hand while running through the chord inversions with your right.
These are probably the most BEAUTIFUL part of technique practice. And if you love classical music then learning arpeggios is a MUST.
There are lots of different arpeggio patterns you can practice. A good way to start is to pick one that you like and play it with your left hand.
While you’re doing that, experiment with playing notes from the scale in your right. This way you’re working on technique AND improvisation. Win/win!
I’ve saved the best ‘till last. These are my favorite things to practice.
“Diatonic chords” is a boring phrase, but it is the coolest thing and probably the MOST IMPORTANT thing you can practice.
It just means you’ll be building chords from every note of the scale you’ve chosen, using only notes from that scale.
The scale we’ve chosen for this lesson is F major. That means on every note of the F major scale you’ll be building a chord.
This is why learning scales come in so handy, so you can know what chords to play AND you’ll know what chords sound good together.
It’s why this is my favorite thing. It will make such a difference to your musical knowledge and ability to know the chords that will sound great in a chord progression.
So you want to be awesome at the piano? Practicing your technique WILL get you there.
Hopefully, you can see from this routine that technique practice does NOT have to be boring and bland. It also doesn’t (and shouldn’t) take up a huge amount of time. Practice technique for 10-15 minutes each practice session (every day if possible) and you’ll see big results.
Remember, the best piano players in the world didn’t wake up like that (sorry Beyonce). They got there through practice and hard work.
And you can do both of those things. Can’t you?
* FREE VIDEO SERIES *
Learning chords is a great way to improve your piano skills without any music theory. And Lisa Witt’s “Chord Hacks” series will show you how to play the most popular chords, so you can play many of your favorite songs on the piano!
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