Effective Piano Practice Part 3 – Preparing away from the piano

As experienced players, I think we all automatically see patterns in our pieces. Arpeggios, chord progressions, scales and repeats just jump out at us and our mind subconsciously reads them as one item.

Piano students however, won’t always see these patterns. They may just be seeing an endless sea of individual notes to concur when they first look at a piece.

That’s why with a particularly challenging piece their first assignment is preparing away from the piano. This is particularly important for pieces that are going to be memorised, but also a great exercise for any piece.

Practice without a piano

Piano practice on the page

These little ‘Pianoless Prep’ guides just serve as a way to get student’s started with music analysis. To get them accustomed to preparing away from the piano. Once they’re used to the process, they can really do it anyway they want. Post-its, stickers, tabs, highlighters, whatever!

The point is really not the finished mark-up, the point is just to really inspect the piece.

Plus seeing the finished page, with all the red & green parts that are just “gimmees” is such a great confidence boost!

pianoless prep

(Click the image to download the pdf.)

If you’re looking for more ways to make practice fun and engaging, you should take a look at Playful Practice cards. These cards give students creative tasks to keep their minds active at the piano.

How do you encourage music analysis?

Do your students write all over their music? Or make notes? Or just discuss the elements?

More practice strategies

Find more practice strategies here and download the free practice strategy stickers.

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