So, how to practice difficult piano passages? How do you practice difficult piano pieces? How do you tell if a piano piece is too hard? Learning difficult passages and pieces is part of the training to become a better pianist in the long run, so we are going to find out how to overcome these difficult passages for novice pianists out there.
How To Practice Difficult Piano Pieces?
So, how do you practice difficult piano pieces? If you are facing a dilemma of learning a difficult piano piece, you can try to follow this method that we are going to discuss today.
Warm Up By Playing Scales
If you are having a problem playing a new and difficult piano piece, the first thing you should do is to have a warm-up first. Just like playing sports, where you have to warm up first before you play, you should also do a warm-up before playing difficult piano passages so that your mind and body can get ready to play the piano.
So, if you are trying to learn difficult piano passages, then I believe you already know how to play the scales on the piano. If not, then maybe you should go back to basics first before you play more difficult things with the instrument.
In warming up to playing the scales, you should be able to determine the key of the piece so that you can start playing its scale. So, if the passage is in the key of D Major, then you start warming up by playing the D Major scale for a couple of minutes repeatedly so that you can have a better memory of what you are playing with. If the passage has a minor key, then you should do your warm-up in its appropriate minor scale.
Take Things Slowly
If you are having a hard time playing the passage, then you should try to learn it and play it slowly. Playing it slowly but surely will give you a good grasp on how to play it at a slower pace. It is important you will be able to play it cleanly and perfectly, so if playing it at its normal speed would be difficult for you, then you should practice it at a slower pace where you are comfortable playing it.
When it comes to speed, you should be able to play the notes on the piano smoothly before you can say that you are comfortable with that specific speed. If you are still uncomfortable with it, then try to play it slower than before until you get a good grasp of how to execute and play it perfectly. After you are comfortable with your current pace, you can try to speed up the pace slowly.
It is important that when it comes to playing difficult passages or even pieces, you take things slowly until you get the idea of how to play it perfectly at its normal speed. If you force it with its normal speed and you still struggle, it will only make you disappointed in yourself, which is not good for you mentally. Remember that playing musical instruments should help you and not affect you negatively.
So, the main point of taking things slowly is that you should always keep in mind that there are no easy shortcuts when you are learning how to play an instrument unless you are a genius musician.
Separate Your Hands When Practicing
When you are practicing a piano passage and have difficulty with how to play it, you should learn it with your hands separated. If you are having a hard time playing it with your hands separated, then how much more if you are already going to play it with your hands altogether? You should be able to play with your hands separated first before you can play the passage with your hands together.
Isolate The Hard Parts
As a pianist who is struggling to play the passage, you should be able to determine what parts you are having difficulty playing and where you are also more comfortable playing it perfectly. This will be much of a big help in the long run if you can isolate the parts where you are not confident in playing it properly, or you are having some difficulty executing it.
Being able to isolate the hard parts lets you focus on the things where you should improve your playing. Practicing by putting the focus on those specific parts will also help you faster in being familiar with how to execute those parts perfectly. Of course, it would still be better if you started practicing it at a slower pace, even if you have already isolated the hard parts.
Always remember that you must also be efficient and smart in learning how to play the instrument. If you only practice the easier parts and not the hard parts, then your practice will just be a waste of time; however, if you put more focus on the hard parts, then there is a better chance you will be able to play the whole passage perfectly, as you do not have already to waste time practicing the things that you can already perfectly execute.
Practice The Passage By Playing Different Rhythms
To be able to improve technique in playing any musical instrument, like the piano, one way you can do it is to practice frequently at different rhythms. So, when you are practicing with difficult passages, not only that you will have to practice it at a slower pace, but it will also help you in the long run if you try to practice it at a much faster pace.
Try to play the passage at an alternated speed, so you can play it fast, and then slowly, and then normal, and then fast again, and vice versa. Not only will you get familiarized with how to play the passage faster, but also it would be a huge help for your fingers to have a reflex memory that it can depend on with time.
Makes Notes On Things To Improve
When you are learning a new and difficult piano passage, you should always take note of all the things you should improve while practicing. Most of the time, you cannot play it perfectly in just one day, so you will need to spend more hours and days to play the specific passage perfectly, and it will also give you the time to take notes of the things that you will have to improve for yourself to become a better pianist.
How Do You Tell If A Piano Piece Is Too Hard?
When it comes to being able to say if the piece is hard or not will depend on your skill level and experience. So, if you have been practicing a piano piece for more than a month, but you are still struggling to play even half of it, then you can say that the piece might be difficult for you at the moment. However, this does not mean that the piece is also difficult for everyone.
So, how to practice difficult piano passages? You need to take things slowly and focus on the hard parts of the passage rather than frequently practicing with the easier parts. Take note of things that you should improve on while you are practicing, as this will serve as a self-check for your improvement.