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Ten Practice Techniques that every piano student should use

Posted on 1 November, 2015 at 18:55 Comments comments (10)

I recently had the pleasure of running a professional development workshop on my book, Technique Trainer 1, at AGAPE in Camden.  During the course of the workshop, I touched on the topic of practice techniques.  I brought up the topic of the value of practising in dotted rhythms, and asked how many of the teachers in the room had been taught to practise in a variety of rhythms.  The answer surprised me - only one!!!!!! - and he is a teacher and concert pianist!

This led me to think about the importance of equipping students with knowledge of how to practice properly, and motivated me to write my first ever blog!

In order to demonstrate the various techniques I suggest that all pianists should utilise regularly, I have made some short videos using those techniques in selections from the first movement of Mozart's Sonata in C, K545.

The first video discusses practising balance, and employs 1. separate hand practice, 2. Exaggerating loud-soft relationships, 3. Focussing on musical shaping of the phrase and 4. blocking chords in one hand whilst playing the melody line in the other.


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Next up is practising in dotted rhythms:

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Practising with various touches and finding a way to reduce tension

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Taking apart a tricky trill:

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Blocking chords

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Analysing keys of scale passages

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Chunking - my favourite practice technique - very relaxing!

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Working out appropriate fingering

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Slow, loud practice, lifting the fingers high

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I'll leave you with a list of ten practice strategies that all pianists should have in their toolkit of practice resources and utilize regularly:


1. Separate Hands Practice

2. Practising in dotted rhythms

3. Chunking

4. Blocking chords

5. Varying the touch

6. Practising backwards, adding a bar at a time

7. Mental practice - analysing keys and fingerings

8. Practising slowly, loudly, lifting the fingers high

9. Conscious listening for balancing voices and shaping phrases

10.Exaggerating dynamic differences


To learn more about developing a relaxed piano technique, go to www.purrfectpractice.com.au, and have a look through the sample copy of Technique Trainer 1.


All the best, and happy practising!!! MAKE IT COUNT EVERY TIME!



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