On our forthcoming Cyprus retreat we are going to cover many areas relating to the piano and piano practice, but if you cannot join us there, here is a little bit of something that may help you to improve your personal practice time.
Many pianists practise as much as they can, but often complain that they are not good enough or they just can’t get it right. Also, the majority of us simply do not have enough time to practise, full stop. Therefore we might think if we have only 10-15 minutes a day, whats the point?; It is not enough time to improve, so why bother? And this repeats day after day, with continuously growing frustration that we are not good enough and never have the time to practise, therefore we will never improve Hence millions of frustrating pianists waking up every morning all over the world.
Here are several simple ideas that I hope will help you to deal with this issue, if you need to:
1. Accept that you do not have enough time to practise.
2. Commit to the belief that you want to improve, that deep down in your heart you know that you want to be better and that you are committed to it.
3. Change the quality of your practice time. Even if you have 10 minutes a day, you can learn a lot if you change your attitude and state of mind:
a) Ban all your negative thoughts from your head during the time of your practice.
b) Centre yourself before practice: ideally do some yoga, but if there is no time or you are not a yoga practitioner:
i) Drink a glass of water (room temperature, unless youre feeling particularly hot!)
ii) Do the tree pose if you can for 1 minute on each side. If not, sit down with your back straight, close your eyes and start breathing deeply from your diaphragm. Try to breathe slowly and avoid breathing from the top part of your chest.
iii) Either meditate if you can, or try to imagine that your spine is like a stem growing from the earth up to the sky, and focus on it, whilst trying to lengthen it. Make sure that the crown of your head is directed towards the sky. Sit like this for 3 minutes. If time permits, 10 minutes would be even better. If you need to, support your back with a cushion.
iv) Once this is done, go to your piano. Plan in advance the time that you are going to spend on it and stick to it. Make sure that your phone is switched off, the room is warm and there is a plenty of soft light, so you dont have to strain your eyes.
Now this is your practice time. If you get yourself in this state every time before you start your practice, after 10 days you will be able already to notice how the quality of your practice time has improved.
And here is something else worth keeping in mind: for those times when you want to practice but dont have access to a piano you still can do some great practice drawing on the ideas above and sitting with the music in front of you, doing the practice in your head rather then at the instrument. This is much harder, but is incredibly effective.
It is also important to know exactly what you are working on during each practice session, but this is a slightly different topic for a future blog
If these topics are something that you simply must learn more about, you are welcome to join us on our Cyprus retreat on 19-25 September to get the full insight into our philosophy. Visit www.piano-yoga.com/retreats/cyprus-retreat.php for more information, call into our monthly Skype clinic or you can even book a Skype Piano-Yoga® session!
Enjoy your practice,