What to practice?

Getting into a practice routine is not an easy thing, especially if you are a beginner when most of the time you do not know where to go or what to practice among all the available and existing content in books, on CDs, DVDs and the Internet.

Have you ever felt that you have been stuck in the same place for a long time? Like when you feel that your playing sucks, no creativity is flowing, you play the same piano licks all the time and sometimes you don’t even feel like playing the piano anymore? I have, and it sucks badly; however I discovered myself that getting into a new practice routine can be all it takes to get out of that “black hole”. Getting into a routine will kill all those concerns and bad feelings about your playing and it will make you improve a lot, you will be hippier, sorry, Happier!

I am not gonna talk about how to get a routine, if you need some help with that, you should check out this Rocket Piano Blog post.

What I’m wanting to talk to you about is what to practice. In other words, asking yourself where your playing is at? What does your playing need? What do you want to learn? Do you think you need to focus on your playing technique, speed, or maybe introduce a new groove.

There is no one better than yourself to know where your playing is at and then find out what you need to work on.

Finding out what your playing and soul needs.
Play your piano for a while, as you normally would or listen to some music you are currently into, get a feel for it and see if there is something you would like to learn from it, something new that you want to be able to play, something that inspires you or something that gives you shivers.

Something that I found really good to include in your “what to practice” is basically one or two warm up exercises. I have found this to be an important part of any practice session. Scales and arpeggios are good for building speed, but remember to start at a slow tempo and gradually increase the speed… this of course involves the use of a metronome.

And of course, there is one last resource on what to practice which is probably the most common – learning to play songs. Songs that you like, songs that everytime you listen to you say, Man, I wish I could play that! Those types of songs are what you need to get into.

I would love to hear what your practice routine looks like, what you start with, how long you spend warming up and how often you practice. Share your training regime with us and with other Rocket Piano users who might need some extra help getting started.

Finding songs to learn

I would say that 95% of people who start learning to play an instrument do so because they wanna learn to play their favorite songs. In fact, most of the time, music theory and technique does not exist in the beginners students mind, they only want to learn to play songs, that’s it!

On the other hand, learning to play songs does break the routine of learning theory and practice exercises. Learning to play songs you like is motivating and also fun, although it could also be very frustrating if you choose a song that involves lots of technique or difficult chords that you’re yet to learn.

So the question here is how can you find songs to learn?

First, you need to decide what type of music are you looking for. This is a huge task as there are many music styles available for us and getting music sheets from artists you don’t even know can be a bit expensive.

So ask yourself: What artists or music styles do I like? Am I wanting to pay money to learn to play the songs? Am I ready to jump in and start learning to play songs? If you have these answers then let’s make the next move.

Where to go to find the song lessons? Getting a private tutor to teach them to you? No way, that could be too expensive… besides that, a tutor would be great to teach you technique and tricks, not song lessons. The INTERNET is the answer!

Have you searched for music sheet web sites or song lessons on the Internet? There are heaps of great options out there. One site that is excellent for trying out new composers or classical pieces is Sheet Music Archive – It is excellent as it has a comprehensive database of all major composers. This site contains enough music to keep you playing piano for your entire life.

And if you are into more contemporary music this one is a pretty good option. You can download the lessons and print them and it also has a very complete sheet music library.

If you are looking for a more modern option, one-on-one video song lessons could be the way to go. You should definitely check out our friends from Songpond – they have around 50 video song lessons available with great audio and video quality.

And of course, the king video on the web, Youtube, where not everything is good but you do find some really high quality players and tutorials.

Let us know what style of music you like more. What songs you would like to learn. We would love to know more about you.

Good luck with your lessons!