Why You Don't Enjoy Piano PracticeNov 24, 2022
Even though pianists are initially motivated to practice, we eventually feel discouraged.
We don't know the reason we aren't getting the results we desire.
t feels like we are working too much while at the same time not working hard enough.
We begin to doubt our own abilities.
A piece that was once fresh starts to feel old.
Inefficient body use can cause frustration.
Unhealthy piano technique can lead to tension that hinders musical expression.
However, tension and inefficient methods often stem from mental and emotional attitudes toward ourselves and practice.
This attitude wrongly suggests that good practice should only be repetitive and structured.
This is completely different from performing. Performers are always on the spot while every moment is full of possibility. It is clear to us that we are in an open space where anything can happen.
However, when we practice it seems our minds are imprisoned in some routine.
It is strange that we sit at pianos at home doing whatever we want yet still fall into a certain unsatisfying work style.
We don't know how to capitalize on our freedom.
To gain technical proficiency we repeat passages in a desperate and joyless way.
For every new piece of music we follow a strict plan.
When things don't go according to plan, we push ourselves to make it work.
This habit of being too hard on ourselves can destroy inspiration, which makes it hard to find the joy and spontaneity necessary for performing.
Quality practice is also about creating something new and authentic.
This approach is similar to performing.
We practice spontaneity instead of following a programmed or mechanical method.
Practice sessions are a great way to develop spontaneity and communicate effectively.
While learning a piece requires a degree of repetition and moving at a slower pace than usual, practice should also include cultivating the qualities of openness and uncertainty that are essential for performing.
This spontaneity in practice provides balance. I often tell my students to play what you hear. Don't just hear what you play.
This is sound advice but once accomplished, a student can let his or her mind go and enjoy being amazed by the vividness of the sounds coming directly from the piano.
Feel the piano strings vibration resonate through your entire body and being.
This new sensation will provide an envigorating perspective toward practice.
Maybe you remember the moment you heard a familiar melody that was unusually striking in its beauty.
Perhaps you can recall times when your movements were more fluid and natural than normal.
You don't have to experience this kind of openness and ease by mere luck or only on occasion. You can cultivate it.
Every person starts in music as a listener. We hear music as young children with delight and freshness. It is easy to fall in love with and be captivated by even the simplest song.
However, once we begin to practice an instrument, we lose our ability to listen intently.
It's easy to get so caught up in producing sound that we forget how to take it in.
Instead of enjoying the sound like we would listen to a concert or recording, our attention is drawn to making the instrument work the way we want it to.
We also try to make it sound the best possible way. We divert our attention from the sounds that can give us joy in the moment by focusing on these desired outcomes.
This is a vicious circle.
The less we enjoy practice, the more we try to make the piano give us enjoyment by playing harder which creates even more frustration. The body's ability to absorb musical vibrations is further reduced by excessive tension. This prevents us from experiencing the full joy of music-making.
Allow the freedom and joy of playing by simply moving easily and comfortably.
Only then will you fully enjoy the practice process and experience.
In other words be both the audience and musician during practice and you will actually discover newfound joy and freedom in the process..