Robert Estrin - piano expert

Setting Goals in Your Piano Practice

Practical tips to reach your piano playing goals

In this video, Robert talks about goals. How can setting them help with your piano learning?

Released on September 9, 2020

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Welcome to Living I'm Robert Estrin. There are actually three identifiable different ways to practice the piano, depending on what you're doing. I have an extended video about this on my Patreon channel, which you're all welcome to join. But I thought I'd give you a little taste about it because it's so important because knowing what you're trying to achieve is a prerequisite of getting anything accomplished when you sit down to practice. Whether you're learning a piece of music to memorize it, whether you're trying to develop your sight reading or your work on improvisation and other styles of music, these are all valuable techniques. So here's some free samples for you from Patreon.

Now notice when playing scales slowly, you avoid using the arm, you never want to do this. The reason for that is twofold. First of all, you'll never develop strength in your fingers if you're using your whole arm. You want to actually stretch the fingers with raised fingers, so you get the feeling of which keys are down and which keys are up because some of the hardest parts of scales are not just being able to play the notes precisely down, but the release of notes.

By coming up, you can see if you're looking on the side here, that all my fingers are up and out of the way. This is the proper way to practice scales slowly, so you develop independence of your fingers and stretching. Just like when warming up for exercise, you do stretching and that's exactly what slow practice in scales in this manner accomplishes.

Another essential element of technique that the wrist are responsible for is octave technique. I remember growing up, hearing my father at Carnegie Hall play the Tchaikovsky B-flat minor Piano Concerto, which I just mentioned and there's massive octave sections in that. I was always enamored and I had small hands when I finally could reach a solid octave, I really worked hard to get good octave technique. The secret to it is, once again, using your wrists. I'm going to show you trying to play octaves without using the wrists is a losing battle. Now, there are some times when octaves are slower and legato and you use your fingers like this.

I hope this has been enlightening for you, giving you a taste of what's available on Patreon and some subject that is so important, the different methods of practice, depending on what you want to accomplish. Boy, there's a really important thing that I wish all teachers would show their students. So I hope you enjoyed it. Again, I'm Robert Estrin here at Living, your online piano resource, and you're welcome to subscribe and ring the bell. For those of you who are subscribers, thank you. That's how I keep bringing these to you. See you next time.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Natalie A Zyla * VSM MEMBER * on September 10, 2020 @4:15 pm PST
How can you take an easy piece and embellish it yourself,
to sound richer.
Robert - host, on September 10, 2020 @6:12 pm PST
If you want to make your own arrangement of music, you should consider jazz, blues, rock, country, new age and other styles that are examples of music that is built upon improvisation to some extent. If you can read a chord chart, that is the best way to approach music like this enabling you to come up with your own arrangement. Listen to how others have created music from these same lead sheets and utilize aspects of playing from a wide range of pianists you like.
Natalie A Zyla * VSM MEMBER * on September 11, 2020 @1:25 pm PST
Thank you very much. I've had several years of lessons, and understand theory pretty well, so I'm sure I can accomplish this (with some patience)!
willene botha * VSM MEMBER * on September 9, 2020 @4:12 am PST
Thank you for the tip.Play with orthers of most.importance. Eyes and ears trust.them. Feel with.the fingertips! Kapustin is an example to watch.after covid our minds are new and ready for better listening and ourselves.
Robert - host, on September 10, 2020 @2:12 pm PST
Thanks for the reference of Kapustin - much appreciated!
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