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Below you will find practice tips written in conjunction with all teachers at the school.

Careful application of these practice tips should insure a smooth and steady improvement on the instrument...

PRACTICE TIPS

Practice daily: Even if it's only 10 minutes, practice every day. Don't leave everything to the weekend !

Decide what to practice:
Plan the week's practice schedule in advance. Be organised when practicing.

Relax & Concentrate: Remember to relax when practicing – as soon as you sit at or pick up the instrument. Relax from your shoulders downwards, and remember, also, to relax from within. You should feel ‘floppy’ when you play !
Concentrate on what you’re doing – don’t get distracted.

Listen to and watch yourself: Learn to listen to yourself - perhaps record yourself and listen back from time to time. It may not sound the same as it did when you played it.
Use a mirror to watch how you are playing the instrument.

Use a metronome: Improve your feel and your ‘pulse’ by using a metronome for at least for some of the time when you practice – particularly when you’re struggling with the difficult bits.

Practice slowly: Slow practice means fast progress. Anything apparently technically difficult is best learned by practicing slowly ( i.e. 50 - 60 beats per minute ). You build up control this way, and your body internalises the correct movements to make when playing either slowly or quickly.

Be patient: It takes time to learn to play an instrument well. Whether it’s playing, listening, relaxing – it all comes with practice. Don’t worry if there are things you can’t do straight away.

FURTHER TIPS FOR PIANISTS

Fingers: When you sit at the instrument, your fingers should be down, as if you’re holding something round in your hands.

Scales: Try to always begin your practice by playing a few scales – it's a very good way to warm your fingers up.

Pedal: If you are learning a new piece that involves the use of the right pedal, practice without the pedal at first - it will help you to listen to what you play more carefully.

Hands: Practicing hands separately helps you to understand the music more.


AND DON’T FORGET……

Listen to and watch the professionals:
Go and see live music as often as you can. Nothing beats live music when it's done well, and nothing will motivate you more.

Enjoy and perform:
When all the hard work is done, take some time to enjoy playing the instrument ! Maybe organise a little performance for friends or family once a month to give you an incentive to practice ( and experience playing in front of people ).