How to make practising piano exercises more exciting

Getting excited about practising piano exercises has never been an issue for me. I love playing so much everything else comes a distant second. When I did not own a piano, I used to drive from work to the music school where I was taking lessons everyday just to practise. Traffic jams, exhaustion after a full day’s work and the lateness of the hour were nothing to me.

This went on for more than a year before I finally could afford to buy a piano. It is more convenient to practise now and I can spend more time on it, but I miss the struggle and limitations I faced then, as a beginner. Luckily having a piano at home has not made me complacent, the fire of a beginner still burns intensely inside of me. 

How to make practising piano exercises more exciting: #1-Plan

Even with heart and passion, a practise plan is still necessary. Allocating the most suitable time to practise when there are the least amount of distractions will give you more satisfaction from your practise session. 

On weekdays, two hours between 7PM and 9PM are the best time for me. I prepare myself by having an energizing dinner first so that I do not get hungry midway thorugh practise. Then I take a shower to freshen myself up. 

This may seem like trivial things that are time expending chores, better spent on the piano, but I have tried skipping the shower so that I can have an extra 15 minutes practising – what happens is; the body lacks freshness and the lingering tiredness from the day’s events stayed with me, dragging down my piano playing. 

It feels so much better to wash it all away first. On weekends I play best in the morning, right after breakfast, from 9AM to 11AM - that leaves ample time for dancing, dating and swimming in the afternoon.

Practising piano exercises can be an isolating process - hours spent in solitude is not healthy for the human mind. For that reason, despite my strong desire to practise everyday, I still give myself a break away from the piano one or two days a week. 

How to make practising piano exercises more exciting: #2-Variety

Knowing you are about to play a well known piano song gets you excited does it not? If you are a romantic person by nature you would want to learn how to play ‘My Heart Will Go On’. Include songs that you love in your practise routine will keep the spirits high and motivated to toil away at the keyboard way past midnight. 

Add variety to stay engaged, I am learning ‘Concerto Des e’Toiles’ at the moment, after every two renditions or so I switch to playing a classical piece by Mozart, Sonata K545. 

The technical challenges demanded in a classical piece helps me stay sharp and build endurance in addition to enriching my knowledge with its deeper musical essence. Alternating between the two contrasting genres of piano compositions makes practising a lot more fun.

If properly planned, there is a lot you can squeeze in in 60 minutes. In between alternating the contrasting pieces, I like to give my fingers some light fingering exercises for10 minutes, drilling them with works by Hanon. 

They are just motor workouts for the fingers that do not require too much mental concentration, useful for relaxing the mind a little before taking another shot at the Mozart while building strength in the fingers and making them more agile and nimble. 

You can do the same with piano exercises by Czerny, or just play scales, arpeggios and trills. They become simple pleasures thoroughly enjoyable for a few minutes after having focused so intensely on a serious piece. At the same time they are immensely beneficial in improving your overall technique.

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