5 Tips for Getting Better At Playing Piano

By CJ | Music Curios

How To Play The Piano Better: 5 Advanced Tips for Beginners 

These 5 advanced tips and tricks for beginners are also for intermediate and advanced players.

You may already be familiar with mental practice and the metaphysics of music, so this video covers how to approach learning piano, the metaphysics of learning music and how to improve piano playing without the burden of music theory.

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Just like every piano player before you, you want to improve your piano playing and you know that it takes time. Also, so much emphasis on learning music theory can leave students wondering why music has to be so complicated. It doesn’t.

In this video I conduct a thought experiment. What would happen if I could transfer everything I know about music theory directly into your brain. Would you instantly be able to play piano?

No. 

Here are 5 reasons why that’s true, and these 5 also show you why you are doing all the other stuff people are afraid of like scales, sheet music and music theory.

A lot of time is spent talking about those things but not why we really need them. So for now, let’s assume we did some matrix mind meld thing and now you know music theory.

Here’s the deal. Music is a shared emotional experience. Others share with you and you share in return. That is the reason music exists. Keep that in mind because none of these are easy.

There aren’t any shortcuts in learning to play but there are ways of accelerating your learning.

I’ll give you 5 the things you need to focus on that are not usually talked about.

Touch. Touch Sensitivity. 

You may not have not developed finger strength and control. Without it, you may know what keys to press and why you want to press them, but the mind-body connection has not been established. You won’t have autonomous control over your fingers.

This skill is called touch sensitivity . It’s what coaxes music out of the keys. You can play all the right notes you want, but without touch sensitivity and control, it isn’t very expressive.

Muscle memory and endurance. 

Related to touch but more specifically scale fingerings, hand positions for chords and arpeggios because they are are unnatural.

Your muscles will tire and cramp very quickly if you suddenly put your fingers, hands, wrists and arms in these new configurations. 

Musical Vocabulary and Inner Hearing. 

I don’t mean musical terminology. That’s theory. Music theory is music theory is music theory, but it is applied differently in different situations.

I can play the song “Summertime” as a solo piece, or as a duet and even with a band. I’ll play it differently each time according to the situation.

Also, every piano player will have their own way of doing all of the above. Every piano player is a unique individual. How you play each of them is a matter of personal taste.

 Which chord voicings will you use when you have soooo many options? Your choices will be based on what you’ve listened to and played in the past and what you hear in your head.

It's also why consistent ear training is so important. It's one thing to hear other peoples notes, but can you hear and play your own?

Emotional interpretation and execution. 

Where the rubber meets the road. This is the toughest one because it involves soul searching.

The more in touch you are with yourself, the better you can express yourself musically. Even if the transfer included muscle memory, touch and situational awareness, how would you express yourself?

Just like the mind body connection ensures good technique, there is a soul-mind body connection that is the real mechanism by which music is made. Can you express yourself musically, not simply play the right notes like a machine?

That’s why when you play the same notes as so and so or play it exactly from the sheet music, it doesn’t sound the same as when a “pro” plays it.

How do you develop these skills?

Performing in public. 

Imagine you could suddenly play piano, just woke up one morning sat at the piano and began playing all your favourite songs. You’re anxious to show your family and friends, but when they’re finally there to hear you play, you freeze.

You’ve never performed on piano in front of anyone. Your mind won’t focus and you keep making mistakes and it all basically just falls apart. You can only do it when nobody’s watching or listening.

The practise of performing under pressure in turn makes you a better musician. Think of performing in public as part of your education, your learning.

These five; touch, muscle memory, musical vocabulary, emotional interpretation and public performance are made possible by the monotony of scales arpeggios and music theory.

This video has more than just tips to improve piano playing, it’s how to approach learning music without losing sight of what music really is.

As you continue in your music learning and development, just remember that music is a shared emotional experience. Your goal is to be able to share your personal experience through music and express yourself.