The 5-P’s Practice Method
In the past few years, our studio has come up with a practice method that I call the “5-P’s”, aka “Pick a Piece of Practice Paper, Please!” Some students have even added “Pretty”, making it “6 P’s”! It’s easy and fun, and I guarantee improvement!
Here’s what you have to do:
1 Print out the practice suggestions.
2 Cut them out in strips.
3 Fold them up and put them in a small jar by the piano.
4 Grab one before you start your practice, and do it!
Be very disciplined! Practice one measure at a time. Stop at the first note of the next bar. “Sign off” before you move to the next bar.
Practice “SUPER SLOW”. It will help motor control, clean up messy spots, help you think and plan.
Practice slow pieces fast to give you an overview of the piece, or “Bird’s Eye View” of it.
Only touch the keys, don’t press down.
This helps you hear inwardly.
It will help your memory.
Choose a different mood or character for your piece.
This will help you find freshness to your piece, make it more creative!
Go on a Pedal Diet
No pedal, practice using only fingers to make legatos.
When you finally add pedal, it will sound so lush and luxurious!
Use dotted rhythms in groups of 2 or 4.
Try rhythms with staccatos and accents.
Start doing it slowly, then up to tempo. It doesn’t count if you don’t do it out loud!
Using your voice and hearing it, great feedback, great for rhythm!
This can be very challenging at first, but stick with it and soon it’ll be easy!
Start at the last 4 measures of your piece. Play it until you like it! Then move back another 4 measures. Repeat until you are at the beginning.
Prop your music on the table, then finger your piece as accurately as possible!
You might be surprised at what is going on in your LH! And RH!
Play Completely Straight
Deliberately remove all rubato, ritards, rallentandos, etc
Use a random number generator to start at any measure of your piece.
Change Up Dynamics
Exaggerate all dynamics.
Play without any dynamics, all pp or ff.
Imagine you are in front of an audience, all the details!
Video yourself and watch it as your own audience!