12 Things to Avoid When Learning Piano: Tips from Clefer

Mar 20, 2023

At Clefer, we understand that learning piano can be both an exciting and challenging experience. Whether you’re a novice or are a former pianist looking to refresh your skills, it’s important to avoid certain common mistakes that can hinder your progress. In this article, we’ll share some tips on what to avoid when learning piano so you can make the most out of your practice time.

1. Skipping the Basics

When starting to learn piano, it can be tempting to jump right into playing songs. However, this can lead to frustration and lack of progress. Taking the time to learn the fundamentals of music theory, such as scales, chords, and finger placement, will give you a solid foundation on which to build your piano skills. Understanding music theory will also help you better understand the songs you’re playing.

2. Practicing Without a Plan

When practicing piano, it’s important to have a clear plan in place. Simply playing songs from start to finish without any structure or goals can lead to a lack of progress and motivation. Using Clefer to help with setting learning goals for each practice session can help you stay focused and see progress. For example, Clefer’s lessons are broken down into sections to help you focus on a particular part of playing a song as well as a specific technical skill.

3. Not Practicing Consistently

Consistency is key when it comes to learning piano. Regular practice, even for a short amount of time each day, is more effective than practicing for several hours once a week. Consistent practice helps build muscle memory, so your fingers know where to go without having to think about it. It also helps retain what you’ve learned, so you don’t have to re-learn the same things each time you sit down at the piano.

4. Focusing Only on the Notes

While it’s important to learn the notes of a piece, it’s not the only thing you should focus on. Paying attention to dynamics, tempo, and phrasing can help you bring a piece to life and make it more expressive. Dynamics refer to how loud or soft you play, while tempo refers to the speed of the music. Phrasing refers to how you group notes together to create musical phrases. Paying attention to these elements can make a huge difference in the quality of your playing.

5. Playing Too Fast Too Soon

One common mistake many students make is playing a piece too fast before they are ready. Starting slow and gradually increasing the tempo can help you develop control and accuracy in your playing. Rushing through a piece may lead to mistakes and frustration. It’s better to take your time and gradually build up speed as you feel comfortable.

6. Neglecting Technique

Good technique is essential to playing piano well. Neglecting proper hand placement and finger technique can lead to injury and hinder your progress. It’s important to pay attention to your technique, which is why Clefer offers activities to help you practice your technique. This can further help you identify any bad habits you may have developed and provide guidance on how to correct them.

7. Not Listening to Yourself Play

When practicing, it’s important to listen to yourself play. Recording your practice sessions or listening back to a performance can help you identify areas that need improvement and make adjustments accordingly. Luckily, Clefer comes equipped with Perform and Review modes that let you listen back to your performance as the app provides constructive feedback. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when playing, but listening to yourself with a critical ear can help you identify mistakes or areas that need improvement.

8. Poor Posture

One of the most important things to consider when learning piano is your posture. Sitting with poor posture can lead to discomfort, pain, and even injury over time. When sitting at the piano, make sure your back is straight and your feet are flat on the ground. Your arms should be at a comfortable angle, with your elbows at your sides and your forearms parallel to the ground. Avoid slouching or hunching over the piano, as this can lead to tension in your shoulders and neck. If you forget any of these points, not to worry! Clefer has a whole educational section dedicated to providing info on the right body posture.

9. Tension in Your Hands and Fingers

Tension in your hands and fingers can make it difficult to play piano and lead to injury over time. When playing, make sure to keep your hands and fingers relaxed. Avoid clenching your fists or tensing up, as this can lead to strain in your muscles and tendons. If you find yourself getting tense when playing, take a break, shake out your hands to release tension and check out Clefer’s in-app tips for the correct hand positioning.

10. Overreaching or Underreaching

Another physical mistake many students make is overreaching or underreaching for keys. Overreaching can lead to strain in your arms and shoulders, while underreaching can lead to tension in your hands and fingers. When playing, make sure your hands are in a comfortable position and that you’re not straining to reach any keys. If you find yourself reaching too far, try adjusting your posture or hand position to make it more comfortable.

11. Using Too Much Force

Using too much force when playing piano can lead to injury and make it difficult to play smoothly. When playing, make sure to use a light touch and avoid pounding on the keys. This will help you develop control and accuracy in your playing, and will also help prevent injury.

12. Playing Through Pain

Finally, one of the biggest physical mistakes you can make when learning piano is playing through pain. If you’re experiencing discomfort or pain when playing, it’s important to take a break and address the issue. Continuing to play through pain can lead to more serious injury over time. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort, take a break and rest until you feel better. If the pain persists, reach out to a doctor or physical therapist.

Avoid common mistakes as you learn piano with the help of Clefer!

When learning piano, it’s important to avoid both mental and physical mistakes that can hinder your progress. By taking the time to learn the fundamentals of music theory, practicing consistently with a plan, and seeking guidance from a teacher or mentor, you can make steady progress in your piano playing. It’s also important to pay attention to your posture and avoid physical mistakes such as tension in your hands and fingers, overreaching or underreaching, and playing with too much force. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can enjoy the process of learning piano and achieve your goals.

At Clefer, we understand the importance of avoiding these common mistakes when learning piano. That’s why we’ve designed a piano learning app that provides targeted guidance and personalized feedback via a research-based learning approach to help pianists of various skill levels improve their technique.

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