David Hicken ~ Pianist & Composer

Advice For Pianists

As you practice a piece of music, you are conditioning the muscles in your fingers, hands and arms, to respond very quickly with desired movements.  This process is complex and takes many repetitions as well as ample time.

Imagine your fingers are ten naughty students who do not always do as they are told.  It is your job as the "captain of your ship", to tell these fingers exactly what is required of them, and have them repeat the desired motion again and again until mastery is achieved.

Your fingers will often catch on very quickly, and if you play a wrong note, or use a wrong finger just once, it is surprising how long you may be "stuck" with that error.  Strive to be as accurate as you can on the very first play through.

Very slow practice, allows your fingers to get to the correct notes at the correct time and in the correct way.  It makes life easier, and your fingers will respond accordingly.  You will learn a piece more quickly and with much more ease than before.  However, most students don't do this.  Or they may think that they're practicing slowly, whereas in fact, they are not.  When I say slow, I mean really slow.  The quarter note should be very roughly 60 bpm on the metronome, or possibly slower.

Students tend to always play too fast.  So many have sloppy and messy playing, which simply doesn't work.  The key to accurate, as well as fast playing is to practice very slowly.

There is a definite connection between the brain and the fingers when playing, and slow practice allows that connection to be firmly established.  There are those who let their fingers get away from them and their brain is not connected (sloppy playing), and the opposite is true, whereby the brain is fully engaged, but the fingers simply do not respond accordingly.

Give your brain and your fingers a break, and stop beating your head against the wall.  Work slowly to have your brain and fingers work perfectly in tandem, and you will be amazed at the results.  You will find that when you speed the piece up, passages that were previously challenging will flow with ease.

Slow practice is one of the most important tips that any teacher can give to a student.  The students who listen and apply this technique will outshine those who don't.

Happy practicing!

David Hicken

All of the concepts that I write about here are detailed in my eBook "Secrets To Better Piano Playing" .  Click the image below to find out more.