A conversation between Frances Wilson (The Cross-Eyed Pianist) and Howard Smith Howard Smith is a late-returner pianist and the author of Note For Note: Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered. Here he shares his anxiety about the thorny issue of ‘efficient practice’ and the burden of imposter syndrome on self-confidence in one's practicing. Howard: I am in… Continue reading Efficient Practice and the ‘Imposter Syndrome’
Pianist Cordelia Williams offers ideas and inspiration to help you get the most of your practising in limited time.
The internet is full of articles promising to help you learn to play the piano Learn to play in just 4 weeks! Play piano in 10 easy steps 5 ways to become a great pianist And so on.... The British pianist James Rhodes entered this busy, lucrative market a few years ago with his book… Continue reading There’s no ‘Quick Fix’ to playing the piano
The key is trying to limit yourself to perform only the pieces that will be best for you and the audience. Otherwise, you’re doing everyone—yourself, the composer, and the audience, a huge disservice. – Richard Goode, concert pianist I’m sure most performers would agree with Richard Goode’s statement, yet many, especially younger artists, are under… Continue reading Play what you play best
Some people swear by them; others detest them with a passion. Love them or hate them, exercises are a crucial part of the pianist's technical regime, and discussions about the pros and cons of exercises in online piano forums and elsewhere are often as heated as the Brexit debate!
With time always moving on, some adult piano learners are keen to understand how to optimise their practice time so as to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. After all, beyond a certain age, there is a finite window of opportunity to get on top of any complex new skill, and piano is surely that.
If we are serious about our music, our progress with our repertoire and our technical and artistic development, we need to establish good and regular practising habits, as regular as cleaning one’s teeth. No one, not even professional musicians at the top of their game, is born with an innate talent which negates the need… Continue reading Feeding the practise habit
Practice should reflect age and level. Five to ten minutes of practice at a time for a very young beginner is usually good. For those starting out regardless of age, five to ten minutes per day, moving to two sessions per day of that duration, is recommended to gradually build both concentration and engagement.
Those of us who teach and play ourselves understand that music requires commitment in the form of consistent, focused practising. This does not mean a snatched half-hour here or there or a blitz the night before the weekly piano lesson, but regular engagement with the instrument and its literature (at least 5 days out of… Continue reading The power of “yet”
"Practise makes perfect" - that oft-quoted phrase beloved of instrumental teachers the world over.... It's a neat little mantra, but one that can have serious and potentially long-lasting negative effects if taken too literally. Musicians have to practise. Repetitive, committed and quality practise trains the procedural memory (what musicians and sportspeople call "muscle memory") and… Continue reading The Perfectionism Trap