• Jiaxin (The 😁 Intern)

7 Tips To Overcome The Most Common Mistakes Made By Beginners

Learning the piano is like learning any other skills - they all require good habits from the start. Here are some common mistakes that beginners make.

Are you guilty of any of these mistakes?

1. Always starting from the beginning

The beginning of a piece is always the easiest and that's probably why we always choose to start from the beginning when practising a piece. What can go wrong with this is that we tend to become very good at playing the beginning of a piece, but become much less competent when playing the rest of the piece.

What you can do:

Split a piece into different sections and allocate certain number of hours you are going to practise for each respective section of the piece. After you mastered a section of a piece, move on to the next section without starting from the beginning. By practising sections by sections, it will ensure a more consistent level of proficiency throughout the piece.

2. Using only the right hand to play the treble clef and the left hand to play the bass clef

We all have this common misconception that notes shown with the treble clef can only be played with the right hand and notes shown with the bass clef can only be played with the left hand. That is wrong. You can use either hands to play the notes.

What you can do:

Start with practising pieces in either the treble or bass clef, using both hands. Learn to associate the different clefs to the different ranges of sound, rather than the different hands used. Treble clef is used for higher sounding notes while bass clef is used for lower sounding notes.

3. Playing everything fast

Doesn't playing fast makes you feel that you are very proficient in playing the piano? (For me, it sure does!) For beginners, not only does playing fast make you play a lot of wrong notes, but play pieces in the wrong tempo as well. Pieces such as 'Moonlight Sonata' are meant to be played in slow time and playing them fast will just show that you are not a good piano player.

What you can do:

Tell yourself that playing in beat is more important than looking cool. Try to count out loud as you play a piece.

4. Not playing in tempo

Continuing from the previous point, beginners usually find it hard to stay in constant beat and the constant urge to be perceived as a proficient piano player causes us to speed up at parts that we are familiar with and slow down at parts that we are not so good at.

What you can do:

Practice with a metronome. Nowadays, metronomes are easily affordable and can be found anywhere. You can purchase them at any music stores or just download a metronome app in your phone.

5. Avoiding consistent practice

All of us have busy lives and playing the piano is understandably not the top of our priorities. That's okay but the most important part of learning to play the piano is practising consistently. Practising for long hours at one go can be mentally straining and will not lead to significant improvements in your playing.

What you can do:

Practising for 30 minutes per day is better than practising 3 hours straight at one go, once a week. After each short session of practising, it will give your brain enough time to absorb and remember what you had practised for future improvements to be made in the next day's session.

6. Using the pedal for every piece

All beginners love the sustaining pedal. It seems to magically conceals all your flaws as it slurs the notes together. What you may want to know is that too much pedal gives the piece a ringing echo. Furthermore, the sound of the previous notes will carry over to the next musical phrase, making your notes sound muffled all together.

What you can do:

Only use the pedal when the piece calls for it. Too much or too little pedal can depreciates the value of the piece.

7. Not taking lessons

With the efficiency of the Internet now, you could probably find many tutorial videos to kickstart your journey of learning the piano with minimal cost and at great ease. However, what you could possibly end up gaining from these lessons are bad habits e.g. wrong fingering, wrong counting. And those bad habits can be hard to change.

What you can do:

Sign up for lessons with qualified instructors. If you do not plan to make a career out of music, you can go for courses that teach you what beginners should know in just 3 hours!

There you have it, 7 common mistakes that beginners are likely to make. Rest assure though, professionals are not immune to all these mistakes too! Now that you are aware of these mistakes, witness the growth of your piano playing skills and enjoy the happiness that can be brought through music.

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