How to avoid them?
How can you improve your playing? Or even better, how can you see your improvement?
We all know that practice makes perfect, we also know that to improve your playing you need to work hard, practice everyday and be passionate about your instrument and music, but there is always something missing, isn’t it? It is very easy for us to get frustrated for not being able to play what we want or for not being fast enough with our improvement, sometimes we even feel angry with ourselves and again, wanting to quit everything – I am sure you have been there, perhaps you are there at the moment… I have and I know that there are a few “mistakes” that cause this frustration on every pianist.
Ineffective piano lessons/teachers. There are good teachers but there are heaps of bad ones. Being a great pianist doesn’t always make a great teacher. Teaching is something different, it is a like a gift that not many good pianists have. Being able to teach requires preparation and perception of what’s needed to help others learning the guitar. Having the wrong learning method or the wrong teacher can be very frustrating and of course, very expensive too. So you have to make sure you have the right learning plan/method or that your piano tutor is prepared and/or trained to teach.
Not knowing where you want to go, what you want to play. This is as simple as knowing what you wanna have for dinner. You must know what you want to learn so you or your piano tutor can develop a specific and effective pianoroutine – don’t be general, be specific. This step is also constantly changing, for example, your goal for Xmas would be to improve your speed or learning scales. You’ll find that if you focus on that and create a routine to work on it, you will be much more likely to reach your goal of learning scales. Xmas is here and you got your scales, excellent! What’s next is up to you.
Learning from too many different sources. Youtube, books, cds, dvds, tutors, you name it… there are tons of learning resources these days. When I started learning there was only Books and VHS, that was it! Now you have heaps of stuff to learn from, but is this good? I don’t think that is always the case! It is good to have options to choose from, but is not good if you are using as many resources as you can access. It’s far better to get one or two different sources to learn from and stick with those. Information is huge and too much of it won’t help you improve at all. Buy a piano course if you want and then reinforce it with a tutor, or learn from Youtube videos but create a learning system, which goes back to the second point.
Focusing on the wrong things. Invest in your piano practice wisely focusing on things that matter and on things that will make you a better pianist. I know it is cool to listen a piano riff from your favorite band and wanting to nail it, but this will take you at least a day to learn, will it improve your playing? Not really; it might give you something superficial but nothing to really help you improve your playing moving forward, like a new technique or theory, scales, etc. So really, only focus on things you need to learn according to improve your playing.
Focusing on the right things but in the wrong order. Learning things in the wrong order will only cause frustration and of course, it is a waste of your time. How have you got to the point where you are now with your piano playing? Step by step? What did you learn first? Perhaps the parts of the piano, names of the keys, fingering positions, etc. Now that you are at a more advanced level, learning process and order still remains… it probably requires a more in-depth look depending on what you want to learn but keep in mind that there is always an order when learning things.
Not Isolating problem areas. A very important question to ask is what is holding you back? I am sure you know it and perhaps you ignore it, well, it’s time to tackle it head on. You have to focus on what your playing is lacking. Find out what is currently more difficult for you and practice it over and over again to improve that and convert it from a problematic area into an under control situation.
Good luck with this and let us know how you get on!