Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Rewards Of Practicing Piano Playing

Playing piano is one of the most rewarding activities in existence -- and also one of the most difficult. Regardless of whether you aspire to be the next prodigy or just want to bang out a few family favorites at the next reunion, playing piano at the most rudimentary level is a time-consuming and sometimes frustrating task. And playing piano well -- well, that takes hours of endless practice and whole mountain ranges full of discipline. But the hard work is worth it in the end; the pay off is an amazing new skill that will last a lifetime.
Most students start piano lessons enthusiasticly and can't wait for the next lesson. But after a few months the trill wears off as the reality of daily practice sinks in. Most of us found practicing boring -- I certainly did until my goals were re-ignited by an opportunity to play in a group. The sooner a student can participate in playing in some public forum, the better, whether it is playing in Sunday School or at school or for a musical group or for friends -- whatever. It's important to put what you've learned into action as soon as possible to make those long boring days of practice pay off.

Playing piano, of course, is an art. And like any art, it can be learned in a multitude of ways. Some begin playing piano by picking up a book of sheet music and hammering it out in front of the keyboard for months on end. These people, however, generally have some working knowledge of music to begin with; playing piano will be slightly easier for them because they already understand the mechanics involved in the practice.

But for those who have never sat on a piano bench or set foot on a pedal, playing piano will usually start with lessons. Well-planned lessons taught by an experienced and knowledgeable instructor can set even those completely new to music on the road to playing piano. The lessons will cover a wide range of topics, usually starting with fingering and posture; knowing where on the keys to put your fingers and how to hold your hands is the first step to playing piano. Next comes the music theory basics. Playing piano, after all, can hardly be done without an understanding of notes, rhythms and chords. It's here that the reading of music will be introduced; instructors will start a student off with basic pieces in easy key signatures to allow them a feel for how the techniques work. As the student begins to show more proficiency in playing piano the pieces will get harder. This takes times, however. Playing piano well (and at an advanced level) doesn't happen overnight, and it's common for a student not to attempt advanced pieces until years after they've begun playing piano. But like anything else, hard work pays off, and the rewards of playing the piano can be huge.
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