1. Set specific goals
Structure can help new students focus their attention and create small milestones to accomplish each session. Practice that is specific, structured and goal-oriented will support this. For example, instead of saying, "I will practice my song", you can say "I will practice the first 8 measures of my song. I will do it with my hands separately first, and then together, for 10 minutes."
2. Be a problem solver
When something goes wrong, put your Sherlock Holmes hat on. Think about what went wrong and why. Was it the fingers you used? How it sounds? Right notes? Rhythm? Articulation? Once you know what the problem is, you are equipped to start solving it.
3. Write on your music
Use pencil, highlighter, and colors to help you see your notes. You can mark things such as finger numbers, sharps and flats, dynamics, reminders, imagery, even motivational notes.
4. Record yourself
Use a device to record yourself (such as a voice memo app). Play it back and listen to it. This will give you new information about how you sound.
5. Use your eyes, ears, hands and heart
What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel with your hands? What do you feel with your heart? Sometimes we can figure out what to work on by using our different senses to observe.
6. Remember to be patient with yourself
Piano is a beautiful form of expression because it allows for lifelong learning, creativity and musical joy. Mastery takes time, and it comes in the small victories. Give your best efforts when you go to the piano, but don't be too hard on yourself when things take time. And remember: ask your teacher questions if you are stuck.
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