Deliberate Practice
blog posts

Teach music confidently without the stress

Take a track walk: getting students to slow down

Slow practice: the importance of precisionI was chatting with a colleague at the end of last term regarding teaching students about slow practice. He let me in on a great secret about F1 racing drivers that we should all share with our students...especially the speed demons! At this time of the year in Australia most students ... Take a track walk: getting students to slow down

Dorothy Taubman, Thomas Mark and practising without injury

For anyone who still believes in a high finger technique and isn’t familiar with the Taubman approach to technique: watch the following video (and the next three in the sequence). This will be the best 50 mins of YouTubing you’ll do this year! For more information, check out the Taubman Institute and Golandsky Institute websites. ... Dorothy Taubman, Thomas Mark and practising without injury

Deliberate Play v. Deliberate Practice

Deliberate Practice I’ve talked at length in previous posts about the importance of “Deliberate Practice”, a phrase made popular in Geoff Colvin’s brilliant book, “Talent is Overrated”, in making your limited practice time more effective. But can you actually do too much practice? We’ve all heard that “too much of anything is a bad thing” ... Deliberate Play v. Deliberate Practice

The best practice: nothing at all

I recently had the opportunity to take a group of my students to watch a master class at Melbourne’s Xavier College where a colleague had arranged for the acclaimed London-based teacher and performer Julian Jacobsen, to work with six of his students and those from local schools. The main thing I got from this experience ... The best practice: nothing at all

How to get addicted to practising piano

If you want to be really, really good at something, you have to be addicted to it. You need to be in a state where you are thinking about it all the time, even when you’re not doing it. You talk about it, you have friends that do it, you dream about it. Imagine having ... How to get addicted to practising piano

The hardest thing about practice is…not playing on!

One of the hardest things about effective, deliberate practice is knowing when to stop! Have you ever experienced this situation: You decide to work on a small phrase of your music, perhaps just a bar or hand position change to a tricky chord, only to find a few seconds later, you’ve already gone on and ... The hardest thing about practice is…not playing on!

 

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How does your hand work?

The more I learn about piano performance, the more I’m becoming fascinated with how on earth my brain and fingers do what I need them to do, and often at lightning fast speed. It’s really quite remarkable to think that even the typing I’m doing now is caused by my brain causing a muscle to ... How does your hand work?

Focused Piano Practice: How to improve the value of your practising

What is focussed piano practice? If your’e not exhausted after practising, you could probably focus harder and achieve more in less time. What do you think? How long do your students practise for? Sure, there are times when just playing through pieces is all you might have the time or energy to do, but if ... Focused Piano Practice: How to improve the value of your practising

How to practice away from the piano

In an attempt to keep my teaching current and to learn from what the masters did in the past and consider how this affects modern playing and teaching, I am forever reading articles and books by noted pianists and teachers. If there is one thing that they all have in common, right back to the ... How to practice away from the piano

Tortoise and Hare Chunking

The way in which many of us learnt piano and subsequently now teach our students is based very firmly on the idea that the best way to learn things is to start playing very slowly (and often hands separately) and then, over time, slowly build up the pace until it’s at performance tempo. But is ... Tortoise and Hare Chunking

If your practice sounds good, it’s not practice, it’s just playing!

Last night at my student’s mid-year recital I reminded all my students and their parents that practice, if effective and done properly, should not sound “nice” all that often. Why? One simple reason. For students to push themselves to learn harder pieces and conquer new technical difficulties, their practice will necessarily sound pretty bad more ... If your practice sounds good, it’s not practice, it’s just playing!

Do you make these mistakes in your piano practice?

Practising music is something we need to learn how to do and until we do, we will probably make some mistakes. This article highlights some of the most common errors made in music practice and tells you how to amend them. The result will be that you can begin to progress on your instrument with ... Do you make these mistakes in your piano practice?