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The importance of a systematic approach to effectively practice on the classical piano


The quality of one's performance reflects the quality of one's practice. 

Practising must be INTERESTING and never boring!

So, how can you make practice meaningful and productive and, thereby, more interesting? Follow the rules.

 First rule: practice must be done REGULARLY.

Vladimir Horowitz, a virtuoso pianist, who performed until his eighties, expressed it  best: "If I skip practice for one day, I notice. If I skip practice for two days, my wife notice. If I skip practice for three days, the world notices". 

Training 100 billion wire-neurones, connected to each other by synapses, is a big job, and impossible to achieve without the energy of passion. A pianist is working on building automatic motor skills, through repetitions. Practice makes perfect: practice is a course, myelin is effect = makes perfect. 

Second rule; RECALL.

Learning complex skills takes time. The newly learned skills must be supported within 10 hours of original learning, otherwise much of the hard work will be wasted. 


A high degree of attention to detail and intense  focusing is requires slow tempo practice. Daniel Barenboim states,  "I always practise the technically difficult passages first - SEPARATELY and SLOWLY - so that I learn to control and phrase them. One must resist the temptation to try out the right tempo until one has perfect control at the slower tempo".


Pieces must be practiced in small chunks. Pattern, structure and form  must be recognised and  identified. Music is not really learned if it is not memorised!

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