Practice as play

Everyone knows the purpose of piano practice is to improve, but not everyone knows that we do this by using our creative problem-solving skills rather than brainlessly playing the same thing over and over again. For example, if I want to get the Allegro from Mozart’s Piano Sonata in F Major more solidly interpreted, I would create a plan before playing it through.

I did this the other day by drawing a picture.

What? How does art relate to piano–especially to deliberate practice?

I enjoy using synthesia to help me clarify what I want between art and music. In high school, my art teacher had us draw two stylistically different songs once, and the pictures showed the stylistic differences. Now, I use this to help me clarify what exactly I want a piece to sound like. It’s another tool to use as I practice.

Musicians need to develop problem-solving skills to be able to function. Music lessons should incorporate these skills. If your teacher isn’t helping you solve problems creatively and you’re at a point where you would benefit from that, by all means, switch teachers. You won’t improve nearly as much without that.


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