Play Piano Today With Dr. J

Piano Practice is Problem Solving

Posted on: July 16, 2009

You have just found a new piece of piano music you want to learn.  Now what?  How should you approach this wonderful new music so you can get the satisfaction of playing it successfully in the least amount of time?  What are the steps that must be taken to solve the problem of making a bunch of black dots and lines on a white sheet of paper sound like beautiful music?

Before playing a note on the piano, do a mental analysis of the piece.  Start at the top of the music page with the very first marks you see on the top of the page.  Ask and answer the following questions:

1.  What is the title of the piece
2.  Who composed the piece
3.  When was the piece composed

Now move on to the very first part of the music score itself.  What do you see?  Again, ask and answer the following questions:

1.  What clef(s) are represented
2.  How many sharps or flats are given
Is the piece in a major key
Is the piece in a minor key
3.  What is the time signature
4.  Is there a tempo marking indicated
by word description or
by a metronome marking

Once this initial mental analysis away from the keyboard is complete you have solved the first problem of learning a new piece of piano music. The next step is to incorporate these discoveries into the actual playing of the piece 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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