Mark parts of the song that is giving you trouble and pay more attention to them. I use a very bright pink Stabilo marker pen to bracket the problematic sections on my music score.
I used to practice a song from the beginning every time, it was fine at first with the lighter modern romantic pieces. As I progressed to Mozart and other classical pieces with more than one movement it is no longer practical to do so. Not a smart way to learn a song.
You can start your practice session with different sections of a piece, a sure way to improve piano technique faster if you start on the problematic ones. Hop over to other sections that you are struggling with once you have solved a section.
Remember that practising is not performing, there is no need to follow a sequence and what’s more if you always practise from the beginning the first movement of a song will always be better than the others - which is a shame because as I have discovered in Mozart’s Sonata K545, the second movement is also full of many musical delights that I would have loved to be able to play sooner.
Improve piano technique in 2 weeks : Day 6 and 7 - Revisit the basic technique
It took me more than six months to be able to play Mozarts Sonata K545 well enough to feel some measure of satisfaction. I am certain anyone else could have done it in a lot less time.
Having struggled so much with the song, I was forced to try many things to improve myself. Let us say for the past 6 months I practised playing it three times a day, that would have accumulated to 540 times. I am sure I practised more than that.
When you do something so often, after a while you will gain insights on what works best and what does not. Here is what I found out.
Practising the song alone to master it in the shortest of time is not enough. Repetition has helped me to understand the phrases, tempo and rhythm of the song no doubt. However, a classical piece requires more technical skills.
In order to bring my technical skills up to the level needed to play the piece by Mozart respectably well, I drilled myself with scales in every practice session during breaks from the sonata. Then I realized even the scales needed back-up – in the form of finger strength and endurance. It made me return to practising Hanon’s fingering exercises.
Mozart’s sonata began to evolve into its true self at the tips of my fingers after several weeks of practising scales and Hanon.
Always keep your scales, arpeggios and octaves in your daily practise to be able to play any song well within a short time. If you have the luxury, including exercises by Hanon and Czerny to improve piano technique in your daily routine would be fabulous.
Improve piano technique in 2 weeks : Day 8 - Play from memory
I can play Mozart’s Sonata K545 without looking at the score by now. That is the advantage of being a slow learner; it took so long to master the song that even before it was passable, I had it memorized.
This is the result of muscle memory, repetition from practising helped parts of the body involved in playing the song remember it. Memorizing this way is only recommended for guys like me who play for pleasure alone.
Once a piece is memorized, I find it easier to work on the rhythm and articulation because I no longer have to concentrate on sight reading. I can focus all my attention on the expression and playing with my heart. Continue reading part 3 of 'How to improve piano technique in 2 weeks'.