How to practice piano

Piano Practice Diary of a New Parent

Piano Practice Diary of a New Parent

Less than a year ago, I was a young professional trying to make time for creative endeavors, including piano practice. I’d been playing piano on and off since starting lessons at age six.

Decode Fast Music with This App

Decode Fast Music with This App

If you’ve ever listened to a professional recording of a piece you’ve been working on for your piano lessons—say Yuja Wang playing Schumann’s The Smuggler—you’ve probably been struck by the obvious: she plays the piece way faster than you do. She plays some passages so fast you can barely process the notes and rhythms in order to see how you should practice.

Develop a Seeing Hand at the Piano

Develop a Seeing Hand at the Piano

Looking down at our hands as we play breaks the continuity of reading, prevents us from looking ahead, and undermines concentration. Yet for many piano students, even some who have played for years, it is a frequent temptation.

Power Poses for Piano Practice

Power Poses for Piano Practice

That neighbor walking past my house with his dog: did he hear snatches of my music through the window, and is that a smirk on his face?

Internalize Tricky Rhythms with a Tapping App

Internalize Tricky Rhythms with a Tapping App

Most pianists have been tripped up by difficult rhythms at one point or another—such as counting a 16th-note rest in a Bach Invention, or trying to play triplets on one hand while maintaining eighth notes with the other.

Learn to Sight-Read with a Disappearing-Score App

Learn to Sight-Read with a Disappearing-Score App

Imagine you’re seated at your piano with sheet music. But as soon as you begin to play the first note in a measure, the entire measure is erased from the score. You’re forced to play what notes you remember and move on, whether you’ve made mistakes or not. This persistent score-eraser chases you until you finish the piece.

Go Paperless with Sheet Music Using the forScore App

Go Paperless with Sheet Music Using the forScore App

Do you ever wish you had all of your sheet music with you constantly so you could play anything, anytime, anywhere? Or perhaps you’re studying a long piece and find turning the pages mid-phrase to be cumbersome?

Listening App Meludia Teaches Music Theory Intuitively

Listening App Meludia Teaches Music Theory Intuitively

What strikes me first about the online music-learning app Meludia is that it doesn’t tell me precisely what to do. The six initial exercises are arranged in a circle so I’m not sure which one to start with—but the order doesn’t matter.

Understanding Tempo Rubato

Understanding Tempo Rubato

For several years after I reclaimed my passion for the piano, I struggled with the concept of tempo rubato.

Piano Keys: Theory, History, and Secrets Unlocked

Piano Keys: Theory, History, and Secrets Unlocked

Piano keys are an iconic image for music throughout the world, but they represent much more than sound. While their distinct arrangement of white and black have been featured in paintings, sung about by pop singers, and reproduced on everything from napkins to neckties—these keys are not only visual reminders of a piano.

Where’s the Finish Line?

Where’s the Finish Line?

Jeremy Denk says he never plays a piece of music the same way twice. Reading that, as a longtime fan of the celebrated pianist, reminded me of an issue I’ve been thinking about for a while: At what point will I have finished learning a composition? Does the finish line come when I have played the music at a consistent tempo?

Bringing Joni Mitchell into a Chopin Nocturne

Bringing Joni Mitchell into a Chopin Nocturne

On a whim, I slipped a Joni Mitchell songbook into my tote bag along with my classical piano scores, before scrambling for my keys and rushing out the door for my session at the new music studio where I’ve been practicing once a week, since I don’t have a piano at home.

Practice Listening with Your Memory

Practice Listening with Your Memory

Think of a simple song. “Happy Birthday” will do. Imagine the rhythm of the words, the bouncing melody soaring out of you as you make the birthday candles flicker. Hear the happy crowd harmonizing. Feel the music building to a rousing climax as everyone belts out “to you!” at the end.

Practice Listening with Your Eyes

Practice Listening with Your Eyes

One of the most exciting ways to enjoy music is to listen… with your eyes. It’s one of the main reasons you go to a rock concert or orchestra performance instead of just buying the recording. It’s why some pianists become famous and others go unnoticed.

My Teacher Made Me Practice… DURING My Lesson

My Teacher Made Me Practice… DURING My Lesson

For many years, I regarded my adult piano lessons as showtime. Of course my teacher and I worked through the material, but I saw the lesson primarily as a chance to perform work I had accomplished the week before.

How Music Theory Helps Decode the Bass Clef

How Music Theory Helps Decode the Bass Clef

Since beginning adult piano lessons a decade ago, I have tried to ignore my left hand. Fixated on the treble clef and my right hand, I viewed the bass clef as a nuisance, a mere accompaniment to the more seductive melody.

The Language of Music

The Language of Music

Almost everyone has struggled with at least one subject in high school. Mine was language.