When it comes to developing skill in playing piano, the one overwhelming difference between a good pianist and a great one is a commitment to regular focused practice. Unfortunately, sheer willpower is rarely enough to make us stick to a regular routine. To that end, here are a few fun tips to make practice easier and more appealing.
1. Vary Your Practice Location
Monotony is the enemy of enjoyment. Practicing in the same location all the time can be a bit humdrum. By investing in a high-quality electronic keyboard and a pair of headphones, you can take your practice routine on the road. Practice by a river, in a park or any place you love to spend time.
2. Pace Yourself
It’s good to push yourself to get better, but if it gets to a point where practice becomes painful — chances are you will start blowing it off. Practice at a pace that feels natural and is enjoyable.
3. Try a Little Improvisation
Trial and error is an important part of any creative process. If you want to compose music, rather than just learning to play the classics, you’re going to need to improvise. Try adding little variations to songs you already know how to play. If you’re bashful about being overheard — remember those headphones we talked about.
4. Learn the Basics, and Play
Once you’ve learned the basics, there’s a lot of room within those skill sets to play around and create something new. If you haven’t had the experience of creating something new, you might be surprised how satisfying it can be.
5. Mix Up Your Practice Schedule
While there’s no getting around the fact that regular practice is important, there’s no law that says you have to practice at the same time every day! You might be surprised how different playing at night can be from playing in the morning. Different times of day have different aesthetics, and our brains work differently in the morning compared to how they work at night. Play at the time that suits you best, and experiment.
6. Reward Yourself
Your practice ritual doesn’t have to be all about hard work. Try giving yourself a small reward at the start of every practice session. I recommend eating a piece of chocolate. It releases endorphins and, of course, tastes awesome. Win-win!