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Good habits

As a newcomer to piano, the following habits will serve you well.

Focus on incorporating one at a time.

1. Schedule your practice time realistically each week. If your days are very full, start small!  


2. Make contact with the piano every day, if briefly. Even five minutes counts! Practicing often in small increments has been shown to be more effective than working in larger chunks less frequently.


3. Keep a practice log. This will help you more than it helps your teacher. Here, too, you can start simply. Just begin by marking an “X” by each day of the week in your calendar that you practiced. You can also mark an X on each piece of music (with a pencil!) each time you play it. Over time your log will grow and change.


4. Don’t forget to practice on the weekend, too. If you are busy, or tired, sit down for five to seven minutes and work on one thing—a scale, a technical challenge, incorporating dynamic markings in a piece.


5. Listen actively to music while doing nothing else. Try this before you go to sleep.


Did you ever wonder how musical families tend to produce musical offspring? Genes probably have something to do with it. But so do habits. For those of us starting from scratch, it takes some extra intention to set these simple routines into regular practices.

“Music makes us want to live. You don’t know how many times people have told me that they’d been down …But then a special song caught their ear and that helped give them renewed strength. That’s the power music has.”

—Mary J. Blige

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