Monday, May 3, 2010

Mastering Piano without Pain: First Tip

Practice Makes Perfect. That's what they tell you. Do you believe them?

Certainly time spent at the piano is essential for growing your skills. There is no doubt about it. But there's more to learning music than just practice. And how are you going to remember to practice? And what are you going to practice? And what about the quality of your practice?

I believe there are a lot of key factors that help insure the time we spend at the piano is profitable, and that we learn the most in the shortest amount of time. I jotted 22 of these factors down last week, and I want to cover them for you one at a time.

These are the hidden strategies. The inner game. The zen. The a-ha.

Tip One. Be Enthused.

What if you're not enthused?

Then get enthused.

Music might be the most emotional force in the human race. OK, the second most, but it's still very powerful. Think of how music influenced your life between the ages of 16 and 22. Think of the records you bought, the concerts you attended, the music videos you watched. Were you ever obsessed? Good.

What drove that? Emotion. Time to harness that emotion and to put it to work for you. OK how?

When I give a piano workshop, I promise the participants that after the one session they will be able to play any song they want. So I suggest they start making a list of the songs they want to play. This would be a list of songs THEY want to play as opposed to a list of songs that I want them to play. See the difference?

It's just the opposite of how piano lessons worked in the old day when it was the piano teacher who chose the songs you were supposed to learn. I realize that those who come to my seminars are not there because their mothers made them come. And their moms aren't going to make sure they practice 30 minutes a day.

My students are only going to grow as piano players if they play consistently. And they are only going to play consistently if they genuinely want to be playing at the piano. And they are only going to want to play if they are playing music they enjoy. Chances are that music has at some point had a strong influence.

So what songs, artists, groups, or styles of music have had a strong, positive, emotional influence on your life? It may have been a long time ago, but if it was there then, it's probably also there now for you.

Make a list. If it isn't classical music, chances are I can show you what to do to be playing these songs in a very short period of time. Three and a half hours is what it takes me to do this at the workshop.

Get emotional.

See you next time.

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