Piano Practicing Techniques

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After every piano piece practiced correctly, the practicing pianist become more skilled at playing their instrument. The pianist will develop technique, accuracy, a feel for the key signature, and learn different combinations. There are an infinite amount of combinations: each measure is a combination and some are harder than others. All combinations can be mastered if the advanced pianist puts his mind to it and, with each difficult combination mastered, simpler combinations can be preformed with ease. Below, are some piano practicing techniques:


Memorize measure by measure. The player can accomplish this by practicing each measure without looking at the score. This does not necessarily mean he will have the music in his hands, but he will have it memorized. Always practice slowly. In the words of Rudolf Serkin, "For every time I play it fast, I play it seven times slowly." Practicing slowly assures that the piece being memorized will go to the head and not be stored in the muscle memory, where it can easily be forgotten in high-pressure situations, such as a performance or audition.

Learn Hands Separately

The player may want to learn each hand separately, which will make it much easier to practice hands together. Memorize the right hand, then the left hand. It shouldn't be too surprising how much easier it is to play hands separately. Then comes time to memorize hands together: this mode requires practice, and should be done without the pianist looking at the score. The reason to memorize the right hand, and left hand separately is so that he will not have a memory lapse when performing. However, if a section is easy enough, he may want to save time and practice that section with two hands. But in general, for hard sections, hands separate makes hard sections easier to play.

Don't Skip Sections

The practicing pianist should not continue to other sections of the score until he is sure to have the previous section memorized. He may want to practice by page, or by theme. If the pianist continues without having a section memorized, he is in danger of forgetting what he had just practiced. However once it is memorized, the piece will remain in the hands of the pianist. If a piece is correctly practiced, and the pianist takes a hiatus, the pianist will not have forgotten the piece, he would then only need to refresh his memory, if even that. This refresher process should not take very long to reacquire the piano piece (perhaps a couple of hours, or a day or two, depending on the scale of the piece).


Look for patterns in music. All music has patterns, and if the player fails to see the patterns, it makes memorizing difficult. However if a pattern is discovered, memorization becomes second nature.

Simplify Scales

Scales can be tricky, however if the pianist is clever enough, he can make scales easy. Break up a scale any way desired. After 5 to 7 notes, the scale just repeats. If a scale is 7 notes, in order to play this easily with one hand, break it up into two distinct patterns consisting of 3 and 4 notes respectively. Memorizing the pattern for 3 and 4 notes is easier than memorizing a pattern for 7 notes.


Fingering is very important, and the pianist should practice his fingering with hands separate first. If the player practices hands together and realizes later his fingering is poor, it is very hard to change later on. It is advisable to use the recommended fingering in the sheet music, because the composer understands his intentions best. Depending on how logical the finger pattern is, a pianist may of course choose to neglect this pattern at his own will. One mistake many pianists do is that they overuse their strong fingers, neglecting their weaker fingers. This is a mistake because sometimes the weaker fingers placement can make a composition much easier to play. The practicing pianist should never overuse his strong fingers. Instead, he should use weaker fingers if it is convenient. Those fingers will eventually become as easy to use as your strong fingers in time.

Know The Beat

If the performer is having a hard time putting the right hand and left hand together, knowing how the beat should sound will completely clear this up. If the pianist has no idea how the beat should sound, it will most likely be hard to play hands together.

After Memorization and General Coordination

After the piece is memorized, the performer can now practice the piece without the sheet music. He should practice on dynamics, rhythm and tempo. He should play presto parts slowly until he has the coordination in his hands perfected. It is very important that performers never practice on speed until this coordination has been perfected. Once a performer has perfected coordination, then he may practice on speed. This should come automatically if practiced correctly, as there is little chance to play a piano piece fast unless it has been memorized and understood. Memorizing and understanding is a necessity for piano playing.

Knowing The Feel

Knowing the feel of how a part is played is also important, and it cannot be stressed enough how important this is for presto sections. In other words, the performer at this point should play without looking at the keyboard, at least until he hits jumps, leaps, etc.

Hand Watching and Peripheral Vision

The pianist should be looking at the hand that does the most jumping. For example, a lot of times, the left hand does the most jumping, so as a result, eyes should be locked on the left hand. If the right hand is in the same or playing connecting notes (right hands play lots of connecting notes) the pianist will not need to look too often at his right hand, leaving room to hand watch the left. Peripheral vision is very important in piano playing. Sometimes both the right hand and left hand will be jumping. In this case, the pianist will then need to choose a hand to watch, and he will need to develop a feel for the other hand that is doing the jumping. It is possible to play every note correctly with minimal hand watching if a feel has been developed for both hands.