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Starting out at the piano is an exciting experience for new musicians, but it can also be a little daunting. With so much to learn, sometimes it can be hard to tell if we’re still on the right track to achieving our goals on our instrument.
Here are 5 common mistakes that new players should keep an eye out for when they’re first learning to play!
One of the greatest mistakes a new piano player can make is to play the keyboard with flattened fingers and palms. To many, flattening your hands might even seem like the natural choice at first. But playing the piano with flattened hands greatly limits your control of speed, accuracy and dynamics on the instrument.
The proper way to play the piano is with rounded fingers and palms, resting the tips of the fingers on the keyboard. Try to imagine your hands holding a little ball that you don’t want to squish too hard. The reason why it’s important to play this way is it sets ourselves up physically to play the piano as efficiently as possible and maximizes the use of our hands and forearms. Remember, when playing piano most of your power comes from the forearm and wrist!
When we are practicing a simple scale or exercise, it may be tempting to rush through the exercise or take your scales at a blazing fast tempo to impress your friends, but take caution with running your practice exercises too fast! Practicing new concepts at too fast a tempo can cause you to develop bad technique or rhythm, which can be frustrating to correct moving forward. So remember to take it slow and methodical. There will be days where your practice seems painstakingly slow, but always remember that in the early days of learning any instrument you should be focused on building a solid foundation of good practice habits. This will pay off tenfold in the future!
This one kind of goes hand in hand with running exercises too fast. Sometimes it seems easier to forgo the metronome when you’re in a hurry to practice, but try to resist this urge! If you don’t practice to a time reference of some sort, most new players will rush their scales or play their chords at an uneven tempo. Or you may feel tempted to run through your practice, forgetting to take the time to ensure that your technique is intact while you’re practicing. Learning to play with a metronome will reinforce your rhythmic confidence and feel, these are essential qualities for any musician and by using a metronome you can start building these skills right from the start!
Bad posture: it’s bad for everyone. But it’s especially bad for piano players! With poor body posture, any new piano player is greatly limiting their ability to play and practice properly. Bad body posture leads to bad playing technique and will impede your ability to focus on your practice. Remember to sit with an upright yet relaxed posture, with your shoulders square to the piano and your forearms held level to the keys. Don’t forget to keep your fingers rounded too! The piano is a big instrument, so try to see your body posture as a tool to help you play the keyboard as efficiently as possible. Good body posture is also great to build confidence just sitting at the piano. You’ll look like a pro, and in no time be playing like one too!
This one should go without saying, but it bears mentioning. Forcing a practice when you’re simply not feeling it will help nobody. This isn’t to say that developing some sort of disciplined practice routine isn’t important because it absolutely is. But forcing yourself to play an exercise that’s been hounding you until you get it right is a counterproductive way to learn. When you’re working on something that you’re simply not fully committed to, you’re bound to start making any number of the above mistakes. Worst of all, you may start to dread playing music altogether! A good practice routine requires focus and determination to be productive, but you have to also be passionate about learning your instrument in order to get the most out of any practice session. So remember to keep your practices fun! Find ways to play that inspire you musically and give you a chance to grow your musical voice.
There you have it! Learning any new instrument is an awesome experience with plenty of challenges to overcome and goals to achieve. By making sure to avoid the mistakes listed in this article, you will have a much easier time getting through those early stages of learning piano. So get to your instrument, set up a focused practice plan, and get to playing!
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