In your mind, you’re probably thinking that in order to be a great pianist, you just need to practice a lot!
Well, yes that’s true but there are several other factors that play into what it takes to be a great pianist.
Sure, you have to have the natural talent for it but greatness doesn’t come from just pure talent and talent alone, isn’t what sets one pianist apart from another pianist. The reality of being a great pianist is that greatness comes from having good habits and doing them repeatedly.
That’s probably not the answer you were expecting but it’s the truth. In addition to continued practice, you must also pick up a few good habits that will not only positively contribute to your piano practice sessions but they’re also good habits to utilize in other areas of your life as well.
If you’re a piano player wanting to hone in on your talents and achieve greatness, consider picking up some of these good habits.
Good Habit 1: Set Practice Goals
Before you sit in front of your piano and start practicing, do you have a goal in mind? Or do you just sit down and start playing stuff? Well, if you’re a piano player who practices with no goal in mind, that’s actually worse than not practicing at all.
Before you practice, you need to have some kind of practice goal in mind. Some people would call this practice with intent. A great way to practice with intent is to take time out once a week to write down the musical goals you want to achieve for that week. You want to make those goals realistic and achievable.
Good Habit 2: Make Your Environment Conducive For Practice
Be honest with yourself… when you start to practice, are you set up in the best environment or are you in a distracting environment? You might think you’re in a pretty good environment to practice in but the reality is, you’re probably not.
You might be practicing and then your phone rings and you feel like you have to answer it. Then you get hungry, so you go and grab a snack… All of those things are huge distractions and once you’re distracted, your concentration is broken and you won’t have that same level of intensity and focus like you had when you first started.
Try giving yourself a set time to practice, and 30 minutes prior to your practice session, do everything you need to do to ensure a productive practice. Whether it’s making sure to eat your snacks and checking your social media or even sending a group message letting close friends and family know to not call or text you during certain times, you have to do what’s necessary.
Good Habit 3: Take Care of Your Piano and Your Support System
As a piano player, it’s your responsibility to take care of your piano by keeping it clean and polished, of course, but you also want to take care of the people in your life who support your talent. From friends and family to your music teachers, tell them “thank you” for their support or invite them to different events to hear you play.
In taking care of your support system, that also includes your hands, after all, your hands are the very things that support your talent of playing the piano! Think of it like athletes. Athletes always warm-up before practice and before games… you should treat your hands the exact same way. Consider doing some wrist and finger exercises before each practice session.
Good Habit 4: Keep Learning
To be a good piano player, and honestly, to be a good musician in general, you never want to stop learning. You might be an exceptional pianist but that doesn’t mean you’ve reached the mountain top… You should always be striving to learn something new, musically.
Maybe you typically play classical music but if you feel you’ve reached a plateau, consider learning to play the piano in a different genre of music. For example, if you always play classical music, consider learning some R&B songs and see how you like that kind of tempo.
If you have kids and you’re trying to teach them music, don’t keep the lessons at home, enroll them in a high-performance music academy. Once they see that you’re still learning, it will inspire them to keep learning too.
Good Habit 5: Learn From Your Mistakes
Because you’re continuing to learn, that means you’re going to make mistakes and success.com states that you should be afraid to make them either. It’s perfectly fine to make mistakes because we’re all human and in music, making mistakes comes with the territory. The important thing is to learn from them.
The funny thing about mistakes in music is that they might be a blunder to you, but once you analyze your mistake and try to learn from it, it can actually end up being a nice addition to a piece you’re trying to perfect.