If you’re reading this as a beginner or a seasoned music teacher; there’s one thing that applies to you both: you can always grow, improve, and find something new to explore when it comes to playing your favourite instrument.
With that in mind, we’ve come up with 5 key tips to help you improve your piano playing skills no matter your skill level or experience.
1. Develop Your Techniques
When it comes to any discipline, be it sport or science, and everything in between – you must develop your appreciation for the fundamental techniques that are the foundation of your craft. The piano is no different! These building blocks will allow you to familiarise yourself with notes, strengthen your technical ability and master the most demanding repertoire. Imbedded into each of the Rockschool Piano Graded exams, from Debut all the way up to Grade 8, students are able to develop techniques through technical exercises in these key areas:
- Chord Voicing
- Technical Studies
Once you understand what it is you need to master, then all you have to do is…
2. Practise, Practise and Practise!
According to research from the Center for Music Learning at The University of Texas, if you get it right early you learn much faster!
It sounds obvious, but practicing regularly builds consistency in your learning experience, helping you progress as a pianist faster. Makes sense doesn’t it? Schedule a daily practice routine and stick to it! It’s such a great way to ensure that you're putting in quality time to improve incrementally by systemically focusing more time of the areas you may need to improve in whilst still applying yourself elsewhere. With this structure in place, you’re in a great position to assess your outcomes and start ticking off your list of goals each time you reach them.
3. Make Your First Steps the Right Ones
There is a wide array of learning resources to assist with improving your piano skills – we know, we’ve looked – the amount of material out there is enough to make your fall off your stool. This is why we wanted to add something new to the mix! Today’s student responds best to today’s music, but we found a deficit of material with the modern touch in the piano method books we found. This is why we decided to create some of our own, with that contemporary Rockschool approach to get you going! Rockschool’s Piano Method books contains everything a beginner needs to learn all the way up to a Grade 1 level, preparing every beginner to feel confident in their ability before they start their Rockschool grades in earnest.
4. Record Yourself
My first recording: Take 1! The best players – regardless of how erratic their playing can seem at times – are absolute perfectionists. Recording yourself gives you the opportunity to listen back to everything you are playing and self-assess your work in a really effective way – plus, it’s just really fun! In order to improve consistently, young players should learn early on how to recognise areas which need improvement. Don’t be afraid to share your recordings with others too. A healthy part of learning an instrument is allowing others to provide constructive feedback. Another pair of ears can often pick up on little things you haven’t noticed, allowing you to grow as a musician in a really well-rounded manner.
5. Have Your Piano Assessed
Although research states that pianos last approximately for 75-100 years, it's important to ensure that you check your piano for tuning, voicing, responsiveness and overall maintenance every couple of months. Having your instrument in its optimum state plays a huge part in your overall piano improvement (literally). You can get your piano assessed by a technician where they can get your keys back up to speed and even customise the playing style of your piano so that it does everything you need it to.
That’s it for today! If you’ve got any of your own tips you’d like to share, feel free to pass them on and maybe we’ll add them to the list! Good music is all about collaboration, isn’t it?!