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Piano Practicing and Phrasing

Question: Hello Albert,

I read something you wrote under the heading Piano Practice and subheading Accuracy and quote, “we systematically learn our pieces phrase by phrase….”

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My Practice Routine

Question: Hello Albert,

I often read about practicing on your website, and you write a lot about how to practice efficiently, and how you get the best results. But if someone (like me) tries to...

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Making Mistakes in Practice

Learning a piece of music successfully requires avoiding mistakes in practice. How we practice is how we learn, and how we learn is how we perform. If we make mistakes in practice, we teach...

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How to Practice Polyrhythms

Question: What is your advice for playing polyrhythms? For example, simple polyrhythms like triplets against duplets or quadruplets and odd ones (Chopin’s favorite) like 4 notes against 35...

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How to Learn a Fugue

With their multiplicity of interweaving, interdependent voices perpetually reacting to one another, deceptively appearing in backwards guise, upside-down, rhythmically lengthened or shortened,...

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Are Editorial Fingerings Compulsory?

Question: Is it essential to play or to require my students to play all indicated fingerings in early advanced pieces, i.e., Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu Op. 66, or Mozart’s Fantasia in...

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Which Hand to Watch?

Question: I’ve been a guitarist for 30+ years and have always watched my left hand, and rarely my right. And now that I am learning/practicing the major and relative minor scales on piano, I...

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Warming Up the Hands

Question: Hello dear teacher,

I had some problems and sickness and I couldn’t practice at all! I want to start again but my hands are too cold to play after about 3 months, so I try to warm...

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Warming Up for Lessons and Performing

Question: What is the best way to quickly warm up or get acclimated to an unfamiliar piano? That is, if you have, say, five minutes to prepare, what do you play to get your muscles and ears...

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Warming Up Before Practicing

Question: Do you do or suggest any kind of physical warm-ups (non-musical) such as hand or arm stretches before practicing or playing (or after as well)? I believe I read that you used to do yoga....

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Using the Piano Pedals

Question: I want to knew when pedals are used and how can I guess their use? Also, there are many signs in the sheet music which are difficult to understand; could you please help me? My sincere...

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Using Practice Time Wisely

Question: Albert, with little time to study every day, do you think it’s wrong to wake up, sit down and study a piece or is it necessary to do at least a half hour of exercises such as...

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Staying Focused

Question: I can get easily distracted from playing piano, whether it be my phone going off, hearing the TV or going to the computer and listening to a song for a second (which turns into hours). I...

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Singing from Memory

Question: Do you have any tips for singing from memory? I can never remember it all and usually get stuck in the middle.

– Courtney (UK)

Albert’s reply: It’s most important to...

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Returning to the Piano

Question: Hello Albert,

I studied piano for five years, and the course was focused on jazz, blues, bossa nova, and other Brazilian styles. These styles are quite different from classical since...

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Preparing a Piece for a Concert

Question: I am a late learner (75), probably grade 2 or 3. I am to play in a concert in 3 weeks’ time. I will play the first and third movements of Clementi’s Op. 36, No. 2, which...

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Practicing with Emotion

Question: What about feelings taking over you by what you listen to before you produce the idea on the piano? Until what point can a pianist deal with passion evoked through the music he/she is...

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Practicing to Eliminate Mistakes

Question: Hi,

I want to know how to learn to play a piece without making mistakes.
I have tried practicing the piece over and over. And when I am at home alone I can seem to get through it with...

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Practicing Scales

Question: Thank you for putting up this site! It has been really helpful!! However, I get rather confused when it comes to the topic of scales, in certain places you say that it is essential to...

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Practicing Music vs. Scales

Question: I am a beginning piano player and want to start on a path to being a good piano player. I have started practicing scales, but it bores me to death. I find myself going back to playing...

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Practicing Mistakes

Question: What do you mean by “mistakes are ‘unwelcome guests’ and we are to check them at the door” (quotation from your Piano Practice page)?

Albert’s reply: One...

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Practicing for Several Concerts at the Same Time

Question: I’m a retired church musician (organist/choirmaster) who’s been asked to play eight noon recitals at a public library over the course of next year starting in January....

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Practicing Away from the Instrument

Question: Is it possible to practice piano playing without a piano? Just like athletes need to go to gym to strengthen their muscles.

Any comment?

– Tingting (Hong Kong)

Albert’s...

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Playing in All Keys

Question: Hello Albert,

Your site and its contents along with your explanations are exceptional, and I am enjoying reading it all. It seems to speak to me.

Q: Which key do you tend to “mess...

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Piano Transcription

Question: Why didn’t you include transcription? I’ve always thought that it was an important part of learning an instrument.

– Mike B. (Chicago)

Albert’s reply:...

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