As a beginner, you might be asking yourself many questions; one of those questions is certainly how much you should practice when first learning how to play the piano. This is an age-old question and there is no particular answer. However, there are a few things you should know when you practice the piano in order to decide how often and for how long you should be sitting at the piano in a given week.
First of all, the key מורת יוגה when learning anything new – musical or not – is consistency. Your brain needs to be subjected to that new thing you are learning on a consistent basis in order to truly assimilate the information. This is a mistake that many piano beginners make, unfortunately. They’ll either go to their lessons once a week and think that this is all you need to learn how to play the piano, or they’ll sit down for a few hours one day and practice without ever coming back to the instrument for the rest of the week. Think about it: if you were learning a new language, you’d have to practice it and have frequent conversations with a native speaker in order to keep it up and learn new words. If you were learning how to solve mathematics equation, you’d have to work on it frequently before you can really say that you ‘know’ how to solve this equation. The same goes with playing music. Regardless of what instrument you play, you’ll have to practice if you want to improve and become better. There is no fast tracking and there is no way one day of practice a week will help you. So, what you need is to make sure that you practice the piano at least 5 days a week. Everyday is better, if you can pull it off, but not everyone’s lives allow them to do so.
Another important point to remember is that if you practice consistently, you won’t need to practice hours at a time. This is great news for anyone with busy lives, families, work, etc. Many students feel overwhelmed when practicing because they think they need to play for an hour everyday. While you would most likely see great results in your playing by doing so, you do not have to practice the piano for hours in order to see improvement. For beginners, a simple 15 minutes a day would do. If you practice consistently, as per the above recommendations, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of time you spend practicing each day without compromising the results. Give yourself an attainable goal; it is completely unrealistic to sit down with the intention of practicing for 2 hours if you are just starting to learn how to play the piano.
Aim for 15 minutes; this will give you time to practice a scale, a song and anything else you might be working on at the moment without overwhelming you. Most of the time, 15 minutes will go by and you’ll feel that you can go a bit longer, and you might even want to practice a bit longer. You are certainly encouraged to keep going, if you have the energy and the will to do so – however you’ll at least know that you achieved your daily goal, which is very encouraging as a beginner. Another great way of viewing your daily practice is to select a day in the week during which you’ll work a bit longer. For example, let’s say that you know you’re always free on Saturdays. You can aim to practice for 30 minutes or 45 minutes on Saturdays, and then reduce your practice time to 15 minutes for the rest of the week. This longer practice session will give you the opportunity to work on details and passages that may be harder, while you’ll be able to play through everything and review what you worked on Saturday during the rest of the week.
Finally it is important to understand that when you practice the piano, it really is more about quality than quantity. You may be practicing for hours every day, but if you are not practicing well, it’s not going to make you any better. Make sure that you can focus on what you are doing when you are practicing; reduce distractions, give yourself those few minutes every day to only think about the piano. In a few weeks, you’ll finally understand how to play the piano and be able to set attainable goals for yourself when you practice the piano.