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Top 5 Mistakes that Students Make Learning Piano, Part 2

This is the continuation to my previous blog on the Top 5 Mistakes Students Make When Learning the Piano.

Besides the Lack of Practice and Ignoring Mistakes and carrying on, the other 5 most common made mistakes are:

Practicing Too Fast

Most students go about practicing a new piece by going at it at full speed. This isn't going to work at all. Students attempting to practice a new or relatively new piece, should play at a much slower tempo to develop more consistency in the tempo. By slowing it all down allows students to check for misplayed notes and fixed difficult passages. It's not always about speed.

If the student can't handle it at a fast pace, they end up glossing over the wrong notes, misreading notes and making fumbles across passages and these are not going to get any better. Take time to slow it all down and practice until you are more familiar with the piece. The speed will come when the notes and the diffult passages are sorted out.

Remember the Rule of thumb: "Whatever speed you can take at the most difficult passage, is the speed you will take for the entire piece."

Using Too Much Sustaining Pedal!

Some students are not sure how to use the Sustaining Pedal. The sustaining pedal can create a very lyrical and melodic line, however if one doesn't change the pedal, one ends up getting a very blurred melodic line which sound messy and incoherent.

Many students do not change pedal at the right time, changing it before they get to the note, which results in a break in the melodic line or results in a silent break before the note is played.

Use the ears to listen to the melodic line and change the pedal where necessary. It is always good to remember that the pedal and the hands move in opposite directions. Example, when the hands are depressed, change the pedal after you depress the note.. This allows the melody to be clear and continuous. Remember always to use the ears to listen. They never lie.

Using Incorrect Fingering

Often times when the passage doesn't flow as it should, there are many reasons for that.

  • students tend to use the same fingers in a row
  • students often keep changing their hand position, though sometimes it's not necessary
  • students sometimes use the 4th finger over the 5th, this will not sound smooth
  • incorrect fingering will not allow one to play the passage faster because of the awkward fingerings and hand position
  • Always work out the fingerings to the running passages or to melodic lines that they can use a set of fingerings which enables a continuous fluidity to the melodic line.
  • Always consult one's piano teacher for help regarding using appropriate fingerings.

Ignoring the Key-Signatures

Another crucial mistakes that students make is to ignore the sharps and flats in a given piece. A student will know if it the melody or music doesn't sound right. Students have to make sure that they familiarize themselves with the Key-Signatures. A student can write a flat (b) or sharp (#) beside the notes first to help them to remember. Sight-Reading and Music Theory will also help to enhance this aspect of remembering Key-Signatures.

The last and most Important of all is probably going to be:

Negative Mindset/Thoughts

Many students may face this problem of thinking that they are not good enough, that they do not play as well as Student X, or they are not practicing enough and feel inferior to other students. Sometimes the problem lies not in the hours that is spent on practicing but rather on how one practices.

Students should talk to their teachers on how to do focused practice rather than playing a passage over and over and hoping that it will get better. One must know what to target on in order to fix the problem

Do not fixate one's bad point, but rather focus on what is good or positive and work at it to improve even better.

Remember, every student is unique and different, that is what makes the world interesting and diverse. So embrace that, never compare with one's peers. Do your best playing and your best is good enough.

This quote below says it all.

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't ---

You are Right!" ~ Henry Ford

I hope these tips will be able to help students to avoid these commonly made mistakes now that they are aware of them.

Have a great week ahead.