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5 Elements Of A Perfect Piano Practice

Lisa Witt  /  Practice / Oct 5

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Have you ever sat down at your piano and wondered what to do? Or set time aside to practice but felt lost about what you should be practicing in order to get better? Wonder no more! Here are 5 elements of a perfect piano practice.

Warm Up 

Begin your practice by warming up your fingers! This will help you mentally arrive at the piano, wake up your fingers and hands, and improve your dexterity and skill overall. Take at least 3-5 minutes to do this. Ideas for warm-ups include Hannons or hand independence exercises, or playing a very simple song at a fast tempo.

Technique

Technique is the foundation of all our playing. Being amazing at technique means we will be amazing players. Pick a major key and a minor key each practice and run through scales, triads, and arpeggios in those keys. Don’t forget the metronome!

Sight Reading

I will be the first to admit I don’t love sight reading, HOWEVER, it has proven to be both useful and even therapeutic. Pick something short and simple to sight read. It should be simple enough that you can play it slowly with few to no mistakes on your first few tries. Then bump the tempo, add dynamics and have fun!

Repertoire

This is the core of your practice time where you get to work on the songs that you are building your repertoire with. Regardless of whether or not you are working on blues improv, a Bach Invention, or from a pop song fake book, this part of your practice takes organization and focus. Pick something to work on that you are passionate about. Ideally, have one song on the go that feels fun and not too difficult and then another that challenges you.

I’ve spent up to a year working on a single song before and while that may not be your cup of tea, don’t be afraid to work on something that takes time! It is always worth it! Every song we learn to play has something to teach us so be sure to keep adding songs to your repertoire.

Play Time

End your practices on a high note by taking a few minutes to let loose and play something really really fun. Maybe play without the metronome, not fuss if you play some wrong notes, sing along- whatever it takes. Just. Have. Fun.

There you have it. Happy practicing!

Lisa Witt


Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for 19 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others.

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