With examples for clarinet, piano and viola

How do I practice for joy in music? How can I ensure that I can play the piece by heart? How do I manage not to tense up when I practice? What should I practice first, the notes or the sound or the music, or something else entirely?

These are some frequently asked questions in my seminars and individual sessions.

In this article I describe my approach, how I practice musical pieces that they get into my system "by themselves" and I stay relaxed and fresh. It consists of four simple steps, simple yet powerful, that can make a big difference in your practice. I apply them also with my piano students, and the best of it: they are really, really fun.

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On the video you see her withdrawing her shoulders. The first bars of the d-minor piano concerto by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are sounding. Pires, whose facial expressions embody different emotions at the same time - from shame over to desperation to decisive - rests her head on her arm at the piano....

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The language of piano is harmony and it's expected of piano players to move between keys as if they moved between rooms in their home.

All piano players can learn to think in harmony and conquer the keyboard. From the very beginning.

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"Piano playing is actually not so difficult. You just have to touch the right key at the right time."
- Johann Sebastian Bach

If at all, these words bear witness to the sense of humour of Johann Sebastian Bach. What he says, sounds sensible, albeit there is a catch.

It's not to be taken seriously.

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"You have to do different things with both hands at the same time!"

I was 10 years old at my first piano lesson, and only because my brother had insisted on receiving piano lessons, like his best friend, for months. My mum thought, if anything, then let's have both children go. But I didn't want to.

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Your student can't concentrate his way out of a paper bag? Or you're in an afternoon slump? Or you want to try something different with your students, get a second wind?

In that case, I recommend free improvisation.

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