Piano Technique – How To Eliminate Playing Mistakes
Let us pretend that we do not need Facebook, iPhones or television for a while. Only then, can we imagine how nice it must have been to live on the hills of Greece gazing down at the blue waters of the Mediterranean in 300 BC. It was here, over two thousand years ago that the Athenian philosopher Plato marvelled at the wonders of music;
“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything”
Before we can give soul to the universe, first we may need to eliminate playing mistakes when making music on the piano. Here are a few ways that can help you to slowly reduce mistakes while playing and hopefully with dilligent practise eventually eliminate them completely.
- Piano Technique - How to eliminate playing mistakes: #1- Think ahead of the music
In the heat of passion playing a song, one can get carried away with some unsanctioned improvisations. That is fine if we are playing for pleasure in the sheltered confines of our homes, but there is a unique joy in performing in front of an audience that makes even the shyest of a person risk going up on stage.
When you are up there under the glare of hundreds of people, think ahead of the music to reduce playing mistakes and sharpen your piano technique.
Our eyes tend to trail the notes when looking at the piano score. Get into the habit of reading one bar ahead of the bar you are playing. This allows the fingers to get an early notice on where to go next.
- Piano Technique - How to eliminate playing mistakes: #2- Pause to fix a mistake
Practising is work. We have to get our hands dirty when working. Enduring the frustration of not getting the desired outcome is part and parcel of the process. When practising, fix a problem until you get it right.
Do not skip or put it on hold to return to it later because you never will, as other difficult sections will appear. My belief is it is better to be able to play 2 or 3 bars perfectly in one sitting than jet through a page haphazardly.
The first movement of the song I am learning to play now, Le Coucou was a walk in the park until I reached the part where the melody immitated the sound of birds chirping to each other.
A staccato quaver followed by an accented crotchet - played with the RH - continuing in succession for a few bars should not have been too hard.
However, trying to coordinate that with the legato movement in the LH proved to be a vexing puzzle – after an hour of relentless repetition it was still elusive. Instead of moving on I chose to continue practising the same passage the next day until I had it chirping to my satisfaction.
- Piano Technique - How to eliminate playing mistakes: #3- Play the song often
There was a time when I was keen on having my piano playing recorded on video. The intention was to look for weaknesses and improve my form.
Soon I realized that the activity was too time consuming and my piano technique was not improving much either. Mistakes were still aplenty but instead of fixing them I was distracted by the video camera. I could get the perfect shot of myself playing without one missed note or off beat tune on camera but honestly, it was only after about a dozen attempts.
Unfortunately we are unlike a recording device that can capture an image and keep it undistorted forever. Even after getting a passage correct if you step away from playing it for a few days, it will be gone. Our hands or brains can not save it in a hard drive somewhere.
The only way to eliminate mistakes while playing the piano is to play the song often and to revisit it regularly for maintenance.
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