David Hicken ~ Pianist & Composer

Advice For Pianists

Many false assumptions are made about what it takes to become a great pianist such as you need to play for ten  hours a day and play countless scales, or maybe that you need to practice blindfolded like in the movie "Shine" (completely wrong.)  Some even think that you need to have long fingers, or a particular hand shape, and worse yet, some people think that you're either born with the ability or you aren't.

The truth is that as long as you are of sound mind and your body is functioning physically well, you can achieve the same results as any great pianist, as long as you cultivate patience and discipline.

You need to develop patience to know that even though you have played a passage 1043 times and it is still not correct, that it may be the very next play through that gives you the breakthrough that you're looking for.

You need to develop discipline to force yourself to play it another thousand times if necessary until it is correct - not in a single practice session, but over the course of many weeks and months.

Constant application of pressure over a period of time yields tremendous results.  This pressure is your daily practice, your mindset (patience & discipline), as well as your understanding that it will take time.

Concert pianists have usually been playing their pieces for many years before an audience ever hears them.  While an audience may be dazzled by the wonderful performance, they often have no idea just how many times the pieces have been played over the course of several years.  The pianist needed patience and discipline to work at it for so long.

Everyone learns differently, so depending upon whether you are visual, auditory or kinesthetic, you might be the type of student who needs to hear it to understand, see it to understand, or do it to understand.  You should know which of these learning types you are, and this is why you owe it to yourself to find the best teacher you can.  Books, DVDs and online courses cannot teach you this.

Once you know which learning type you are (you actually use a little of all three, but one is usually more predominant in most people), then you may understand more clearly why your friend picks up a tune quickly by ear, while you are struggling to read the notes.

This is auditory vs. visual/kinesthetic.  Sometimes you need to give yourself a break.  People learn in different ways, so don't compare yourself with other students.  Compare yourself only with the great pianist that you want to become.  Rome wasn't built in a day, and your goal of becoming a great pianist is worth waiting for.

Countless people want to become great pianists, but are simply too lazy to do so.  They have good intentions and will deny that they're lazy, but the fact is that they are not willing to do that which a concert pianist does.  In other words, they lack discipline.

Piano students want instant results, which is understandable considering that we live in a world where everything is at our fingertips.  However, learning a piece of music is a little like allowing a fine wine to mature.  It takes time.  How much time?  Who knows?  It varies considerably, so relax and just keep chipping away.

Be patient enough to know that you will succeed, and be disciplined enough to do whatever it takes to meet that end.

Happy practicing!!

David Hicken

All of the concepts that I write about here are detailed in my eBook "Secrets To Better Piano Playing" .  Click the image below to find out more.