The 10 Best Piano Practice Tips to Remember

How to get better at piano practice tips


Not sure where to start when you sit down at the piano? These practice tips will keep you focused on meaningful improvement. 

Practicing is the most important part of learning and becoming a piano player. Remember these tips to take your practice time to its highest potential.

1. Set a Clear Goal

If you sit down at the piano and say, “I’m going to play for a bit,” you aren’t going to to learn anything. Instead, set a goal: “I’m going to learn how to play the opening song in Frozen.” Since you set a goal, you are going to keep at it until you reach it. You also have to make sure that your goal is achievable in your practice time frame. If you have only two hours, you probably shouldn’t try to learn the entire “Planets Suite” by Holst, maybe just the pretty part in “Jupiter”.

2. Warm up

Boring! We get it. It’s a tedious way to start, but without it, you put yourself at risk of carpal tunnel and tendonitis. You’d rather spend 10 minutes warming up than be in pain for six months. This is one of the most important piano practice tips, because a proper warmup also gives you the opportunity to achieve flow, a state of mind where you’re locked in on the task at hand, and get maximum enjoyment and improvement.

A certified piano teacher can teach you how to get into flow experiences, and develop incredible practice routines. Practice for free for 30-days with TakeLessons Live. 

3. Set Aside Time for Fundamentals

Make sure at least 15 minutes of your practice time is set aside for things like scales, runs, accuracy, and timing. You only gain technical skills by repetition – uncomfortable, annoying, boring, focused repetition. Just build in 15 minutes of fundamentals to every one of your practices and you will be able to play insanely technical pieces.

4. Slow Down

The trick to learning hard songs is learning them at half-speed and then slowly speeding up. Slow down to whatever speed you can play it perfectly. Then, when you can play it perfectly at that speed three times, speed it up a little bit. A LITTLE BIT. “What’s a little bit?” Glad you asked…

5. Use A Metronome and Slow Down Again

If you can’t play a song in time, then you can’t play the song. “Flight of the Bumblebee” is played, depending on how you count it, at about 500bpm.

But do not start trying to learn the song at 500bpm. You start at 50bpm. When you can play it at 50, speed it up to 60, and so forth until you can play at the correct speed.

SEE ALSO: 6 Common Practice Problems and How to Solve Them 

6. In Case You Didn’t Hear it, Slow Down

We can’t stress this piano practice tip enough. Good musicians learn how to practice a fast song at a tenth of its speed, and then gradually speed it back up to normal pace.

7. Listen

Name your top 10 favorite pianists. If you don’t have the list, you haven’t listened to enough pianists. You have to know what great sounds like to sound great yourself. Since it’s 2014, it’s a lot easier to discover great pianists and great music – try just a simple search on YouTube!

8. Imitate, then Innovate

After you listen, try to copy great solos you love, and then try to make them better. This is where you find out who you are and what is special about your piano playing. This is the opportunity to go from being great to being unique.


9. Take A Break

You’ve warmed up, spent 15 minutes on fundamentals, learned how to play “Jupiter”, and now you are on to “Mars”. You spent 20 minutes listening and copying Fats Waller solos. What do you do next?

You stop.

… and breathe. Then get back into it.

10. Start and End With Fun

Make sure you play something you love when you start to practice and something you love when you are done, preferably something you are great at playing. This will keep your confidence up!

The most important thing to remember is that all this hard work gives you the ability to entertain, uplift, and touch people with your talent. It’s also way more fun playing piano when you are great at it. Now go make some beautiful music. If you want expert advice on deliberate practice, sign up for TakeLessons Live, or with a certified TL piano teacher near you.

Bonus Practice Tips for Adults While Away from the Piano


Piano Practice Off the Keys

Bonus Practice Tips for Kids While Away from the Piano


How to Practice Piano... Off the Keys - Kids

Photo by HannahWebb


Steele Honda

November 06, 2017 at 11:57pm

I loved your advice to play something I love when I start to practice and something I love when I am done, preferably something I am great at playing! I've always wanted to learn to play the piano, but I was afraid that I will give up if I will fail in the beginning. I guess that this practice can keep my confidence up! I totally agree that all this hard work gives me the ability to entertain, uplift, and touch people with my talent, so I will make sure to get piano lessons as soon as I have free time!

Cameron Weckerley

February 24, 2018 at 7:59am

Excellent post! Helped me break through the cobwebs.

Comments are closed

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