Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today’s subject is about how much you should practice the piano. I hear this question all the time. Of course, parents always want to know that for their kids, and adults also want to know if they are practicing enough. This is a great question, but it really isn’t the right question, believe it or not. The most important aspect is not how much you are practicing, but how often you practice. Why is this so important?
Practicing on a daily basis is essential to maximize your productivity and progress at the piano.
When you practice every day, you reinforce what you’ve done the day before on a daily basis. Skipping days is like taking one step forward and two steps backwards. It’s very difficult and can become frustrating. It makes you not even want to practice because you forget what you did and you feel like you’re not getting anywhere. And maybe that’s true. So it becomes self-defeating. Practice every day and you’ll see your progress growing.
Your mind has only a certain amount of time when it can work with maximum effectiveness.
When your mind is fresh, it can be so productive! You can get so much done. So you want to take advantage of that every day. You can even practice more than once in the course of a day. Maybe you have a little bit of time before you start working when you can review what you did the day before. By keeping it present in your head, right from the moment you sit down to practice, you’re ready to go! So that is the most important thing.
Setting the clock to practice a certain amount of time every day isn’t necessarily productive.
Why? Because what is practicing? Sure, there’s a certain amount of physiology involved. You want to develop strength and independence of your fingers and wrists for technique. But that’s not the most important aspect of piano practice. Practicing is a thought process. You can’t just do it by the clock. I’ve seen kids do this when their parents make them practice and they just sit there thinking about anything other than the piano! They’re thinking about what they’re going to do later when they run out the clock. So you must maximize the productivity of your practice. And that takes a thought process that you can’t always force. If you practice for 30 minutes and you’re really focused, you can accomplish far more than practicing for hours while daydreaming or just going through the motions. You want to digest a chunk at a time and really have something to show for your work at the end of practicing. So make sure you get to the piano every day. At least refresh what you did the day before and try to learn something new. Even if it’s just one tiny phrase. And on good days when you’re fresh and you’ve got time, do as much as you can! That way you will really grow tremendously rather than trying to have an arbitrary time limit that you are going to practice.
I hope this is helpful for you and for your teachers. This is a great recommendation, particularly for parents of students, because a lot of parents don’t know how hard it is to practice if you’re doing it correctly. So give your kids a break! Just make sure they do some work at the piano every day. That’s the most important thing. Thanks again for joining me! I’m Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.
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