A leading provider of adult piano lessons, London Piano Institute answers questions regarding practice and offers practical information for adult learners.
Q: How does someone learn music?
London Piano Institute: Practice and understanding is the key to learning any instrument. In order to become proficient in piano, one must know the relationship between scales, chords and other aspects, and have the patience to duplicate over and again.
Q: Does writing things down help in learning music?
London Piano Institute: Writing information down gives the brain a visual cue to recall it later.
Q: What should be noted for later study?
London Piano Institute: Those taking instruction should pen what their teacher says as well as note vital tidbits such as tempo and key.
Q: Should a student rely solely on teacher instruction?
London Piano Institute: No, all successful students have the foresight practice independently. A teacher can give practical instruction, but real learning happens from within the pupil.
Q: How should a student view practice?
London Piano Institute: Practice should be looked upon as an opportunity to problem-solve, never simply an allotted time to play.
Q: What are the key elements of problem-solving related to the piano?
London Piano Institute: There are three basic steps: identify the issue, find out what caused the problem, and fix the problem. The process is not difficult if these steps are followed.
Q: How do you know when there is a problem to be solved?
London Piano Institute: If the piece does not sound right to the ears or feel right to the body, or movements are not fluid or look forced, chances are something should be done differently.
Q: What is the best way to determine if one’s movements are correct?
London Piano Institute: A beginning—or, for that matter, an experienced—pianist can use video recordings to get a good visual of his or her movements. This offers a good starting point to correct awkward positioning.
Q: Why is paying attention to movement important?
London Piano Institute: The pianist can perform for many years with bad body positioning; it will eventually catch up. Poor posture can, over time, make the playing experience difficult and unpleasant.
Q: What is the best way to practice a new piece?
London Piano Institute: Dividing a new or particularly difficult piece into sections makes it easier to learn. For instance, learn one section then move onto the next. Once the second is mastered, group the two together and perform them together. Move along to the third and repeat the process until all sections are being played consecutively.
Q: Should a student practice with hands together or hands separate?
London Piano Institute: For each section you are learning, first work hands separate. Once you have the hang of the piece, work hands together. You should pay particular attention to the left hand as it’s usually a weaker player than the right.
Q: Once someone has mastered a new piece, what is the best way to practice it?
London Piano Institute: Play the entire tune all the way through then divide into parts. Practice these parts individually in and out of their original order and go back and rehearse with all pieces together.
Q: What are some common practice methods?
London Piano Institute: Soft play, loud play, metronome in varying tempos, and staccato—each has its own set of benefits.
Q: What is the best way to really hear the quality of a performance?
London Piano Institute: Keep a quality tape recorder handy and then listen to playback in a quiet room.
Q: Are there any benefits to practicing without the pedal?
London Piano Institute: Yes, it allows you to hear things more clearly and makes you pay particular attention to unevenness and incorrect notes.
London Piano Institute is the preferred teaching establishment for adults looking to learn the piano or for those who are out of practice. By focusing on positive reinforcement and exceptional instruction, London Piano Institute teaches the adult student the piano and encompasses a variety of musical styles including classical, rock and jazz. London Piano Institute was founded by master pianist Celine Gaurier-Joubert. London Piano Institute only accepts adult students for private lessons and has limited availability.