5 Mistakes Beginning Piano Students Make

See also Learning Objectives from Week 1 + 2

5 Mistakes Beginning Piano Students Make

Mistake 1: Lifting several fingers when pressing one key

Playing the piano is all about playing economically (to use the least amount of energy to create the desired sound), and ergonomically (playing in a relaxed way to avoid stress and injury).

Even when your child’s fingers are very small, he/she shouldn’t compensate for it by being overly active with the wrist and arm. Instead, the child should keep the non-playing fingers relatively still and relaxed. This is not so easy, because our fingers are used to moving together.

A good exercise for this is to keep all fingers in contact with the keys while playing with the same finger several times in a row. Note that this exercise is not about speed or playing loud, but instead about gaining finger control.

Mistake 2: Still holding down the key while already pressing the next one

To play one note at the time. A good exercise is to pause between notes while making sure that the finger who was just active returns to its resting position before playing the next note. Once the child can master this it can try to play legato (without a pause between notes).

Mistake 3: Practicing too fast

A common mistake is practicing too fast Too fast means that we play at a tempo that does prohibit our brain to process the music correctly, thus we make mistakes. When we make the same mistake repeatable we will have a hard time to undo it. To avoid that, it is important to practice at a comfortable yet challenging tempo that allows us to play without mistakes. Finding the right tempo may require to start over several times until we find it.

Tip: Slow down until you can play the passage you are working on without mistakes, then gradually increase the tempo.

Mistake 4: Practicing without a metronome

The importance of practicing with a metronome can not be overstated. Practicing without a steady beat allows us to slow down as the music gets harder. The metronome prohibits us from doing that.

The metronome also helps us with measuring our progress.

Mistake 5: Practicing without focus and purpose

When the child is tired, hungry, or distracted, it should stop practicing immediately. Tip: Practicing more often and keeping each session short is much more efficient than practicing only ones a week for an hour.

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