Play Piano Today With Dr. J

What Can I Do Differently in My Piano Playing?

Posted on: June 17, 2009

Every person who plays the piano no matter at what level needs to keep a reasonable perspective about the learning process and their successes and challenges.  One way to keep a healthy perspective about playing the piano is to ask yourself three questions as you work through exercises and repertoire or find yourself performing for a You Tube video or for a live audience.

Ask yourself

What did I do well?
What can I do differently?
How can I make changes?

Once the first question, “what was done well?” has been answered by careful listening and recognition of even small successes and accomplishments in the development of piano technique and musicality, a student of the piano is ready to approach the second question.

By asking the question, “what can be done differently?” a student of the piano, creates then listens to several options determining that with a different fingering a passage suddenly is not only playable but more musical as well. In learning or maintaining piano playing skill there is always something that can enhance and improve the playing of a song, the performance of a chord progression, or the rhythm of a particular piece of music.  Carefully discovering what can be made better will enhance the music you play whether it is for yourself or shared with the public.

So, just how does one determine what can be done differently?  The development of listening skills from the first time one sits at a piano determines how quickly one can answer the question “what can I do differently?”  The development of listening skills are as important as technical skills in learning to play the piano.

Critically listening to the differences in sound one makes by moving the fingers in a different pattern can change musical results.  Is the result a smoothly played phrase or is there a hesitation when the thumb crosses under the third finger?  If there is a hesitation after a diligent and focused practice session using a particular fingering, it is time to do something differently.  Never assume the first playing is the only and right way of playing a piece of music.

Listen, experiment, listen, rehearse, listen, ask yourself, “Is this really the sound I want?”  If not, make changes and look for creative ways to make music in a different way on the piano.

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    • bhundley1: I'm interested in your elaborating on the "fingering" aspect of practice. Are you a fan of Czerny, for instance, in terms of building up dexterity wi
    • promotionmusic: Thanks for your response. Congratulations to you on the work you are doing in the piano world.

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