With anything that you want to accomplish, you tend to meet your goals more often if you have a plan. For piano practice it's great to have a general plan, like setting aside a certain time every day that you will practice, and a specific plan, like what you want to accomplish each time you practice.
Twenty minutes every day right after you come home from school is a great idea. If you're homeschooling, consider scheduling a time during the school day for music practice.
As far as specific goals, you might choose four measures that you would like to master before your practice time is over. Try your best to stay focused on your goal for most of the lesson. At the end, reward yourself by playing through the whole piece, or at least a large section.
Most of you won't be able to play what your teacher demonstrated on your first try. That's okay! However, don't miss out on the greatest strength of online piano lessons. Pause the lesson and try it a few times. Listen to the teacher's demonstration a second time, and try it again.
All this repetition is how your teacher got to be a great musician. It's also what you need to do to be a great musician yourself!
The MakingMusicFun.net Music Academy uses our unique system of counting with younger students that makes playing lesson pieces perfectly, incredibly easy.
Unfortunately, students often forget to count out loud. When students don't count out loud, they often fail to play the rhythms correctly and fail to maintain a steady beat.
Make the most of every minute you practice by counting out loud.
It's fun to play fast. However, the quickest way to become a musical superstar is to practice very slowly. It's also the most important practice habit you will ever form.
Practicing slowly will teach your fingers exactly what they are supposed to do. After sufficient repetition at a slow tempo, you'll form muscle memory that will enable you to play faster and with greater accuracy.
Practice with a metronome as often as you can. Consistent practice with a metronome will help you perform with a steady beat and refine your technique.
There are instances that it is best to practice with both hands together. However, most of the time it's best to practice one hand at a time, and then put both hands together.
This is exactly how MakingMusic.net Music Academy lessons are presented to our piano students. One hand at a time, and then both hands together.
Piano students are notorious for fudging the beat, because they're almost always playing alone. If you find yourself slipping into this bad habit, try one of the following:
a) Play with a Metronome - There are many free metronome apps available for your mobile phone. Give a few a try and see which one you like best.
b) Play with a Drum Track - There are several free drum machines available online or you can get creative and compose something with GarageBand.
c) Play with a Backing Track - Backing tracks are fun to play with and may even encourage you to practice more.
When you start a new piece, figure out what the best fingering will be for each phrase. If you don't take the time to figure out the best fingerings, your fingerings may be different every time and you'll play things incorrectly more often.
Try to get started with one of these tips this week. Add another one next week. When all of these tips are a part of your regular routine, you'll be awesome at practicing and well on your way to being a great musician!