Posted in Encouragement, Music Motivation, Performing, Practicing

5 Tips to Master the Piano

There are plenty of things necessary to master the piano, but here’s my 5 tips to master the piano.


  1. Learn how to practice correctly. What? Well, as I tell students, practice isn’t just “playing through” the song 5 or 10 times. Practice is figuring out where the trouble spots are and working them out so that you learn the correct notes, rhythms, articulations and dynamics from beginning to end with confidence!
  2. Practice, practice, practice! When parents ask me how long their child should practice, I tell them 24 hours a day. Obviously, that’s unrealistic, but the more time invested in practice will make for growth and better musicianship. 15-30 minutes on a consistent, daily schedule is going to lead to more musical growth than 5-10 minutes sporadically throughout the week.
  3. Expose yourself to as much piano music (and music) as you possibly can! One of the things that helped foster and build my love of music was being surrounded by it. The more you can be exposed to piano music, classical music, or any kind of music not only for passive listening, but active listening, helps you immensely.
  4. Take as many performance opportunities as you can. Whether that is playing at a nursing home, playing for family, whatever the case is, the more you can get experience in performing, that brings about more confidence. Yes, you’ll mess up and make mistakes, but having those experiences of performing, having it bomb, and learning from it brings about humility, a focus on working more, and more growth as a performer!
  5. Final point: Have fun! Music is work, no doubt. But it’s also creative, beautiful and artistic. If you’re so focused on the work aspect of music, you will tire of it quickly and want to give up. When it’s fun, you want to keep going and you enjoy what you do.


So what did I miss? What do you think are other tips to help master the piano? Comment with your thoughts.

Posted in Performing, Recital, Student highlight

Recital Fun!

Last Saturday, Harmanny Music Education hosted its first ever in person recital. 23 students participated and did an absolutely amazing job! This past week at their lessons, I found a really fun way to process the recital and get their feedback. It was in the form of 5 questions, which then were put into the form of a Mad Lib. I wanted to share their answers, because I think it gives a good amount of insight into performing and learning how to perform well.


1. What are three positive words you would use to describe your performance?

Good (x 7), OK, Fine, Enjoyable, Pleasant, Interesting (x 2), Fantastic (x 4), Noisy, Fun (x 5), Exciting, Incredible (x 2), Energetic, Great (x 3), Sunny, Happy (x 2) , Joyful, Amazing (x 5), Motivated, Extremely Awesome, Very Good, Very Great, Confident, Finishing Well, Marvelous, Awesome, Cool, Awesome, Well Done, Quiet, Peaceful, Loud, Well, Terrific, Impressive


2. What is one thing you would like to improve upon in future performances?

Not be so nervous (x 2), play more challenging music, play the keys louder, play with more fluency and make sure I get notes and chords right, don’t mess up or anything, sing longer phrases, count better, play a longer song (x 2), be more prepared, bow better, not be afraid, not play the song 4 times, practice more, playing the notes where they should be and holding them out, should have played the whole song, overall consistency, play a faster song


3. What is one piece of advice you would give to students performing at their first recital?

It’s OK to be nervous, only you know that you’re making mistakes, play the whole song, don’t be nervous, practice and stick to the beat, do good dynamics, don’t be afraid, you did a great job and keep going, be very serious, be confident, be brave, if you feel nervous, take a deep breath, act like it’s your lesson, if you’re nervous say you’ve got this, try your best and not be nervous, pretend you’re just by yourself and no one’s watching, be brave and courageous, relax, be ready and know everything you’re supposed to play.


4. What is one piece you heard someone else play that you would like to play in the future?

Theme from Jurassic Park (x 2), Surface Pressure (x 5), Ode to Joy, Hurricane, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo (x 2), Megalovania, Symphony (x 2), Formula One Theme,  Jailhouse Rock, Pirates of the Caribbean, Aria Math, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star


5. How would you rate your recital performance on a scale of 1-10?

10, 7, 9.5, 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 8, 7, 7, 5, 10, 8, 10, 7, 10, 5


My students are rock stars! Almost all of them had never performed in a recital before. We spent a lot of time preparing for nerves, working to continue on if mistakes happened, and they did great! With 22 performers, there are a large number in attendance, so not only was it a bigger space than what they have lessons at, it was also a different instrument…and more people! But everyone got up and confidently played. Getting their feedback this week was just as much fun as Saturday, because the insights here are powerful!


For all of us as musicians, there is always room for improvement, and many of these students have only been learning since January. So they will naturally improve as they continue in their musical journey. The takeaways and encouragements to first time performers is something that can be very helpful to anyone presenting anything for the first time! Also, the confidence shown in their ratings says to me that they were well prepared and feel they did their best, which is all you can do!


I’m so proud of my students. Not only do they make each lesson fun for me to teach, they’re all ready and willing to learn and try new things. And that is how you grow! I’m looking forward to this last week of lessons for the semester. We’ll do some fun activities and still make it musical, but much more relaxed and enjoyable!