Effective piano practise: recording yourself

melbourne piano teachers piano girl

Piano students sometimes come to me with the question “I am practising every day but I don’t feel like I’m getting any better.” One of the first things I will suggest is to record yourself while practising. In today’s age of smartphones and personal devices it is easier than ever to hit record and record yourself without any hassle. When I was growing up we didn’t have smartphones (remember the Nokia 3210 anyone?) so it was little harder to try to and record ourselves, but we managed.

Recording your piano practise is such a great habit to get into. It’s a way to get outside of yourself, and listen objectively to how you sound. While you’re in the moment and playing you tend to hear things in a less than objective way – it’s strange how the mind perceives our sound as being very different when we’re playing vs when we’re listening back to our recorded selves.

You will find you are far more able to identify weaknesses in your playing, including timing issues, technical problems or dynamic range for example if you listen back to the recording.

So what to record? Anything is fair game really. You might even record your piano lesson with your Melbourne piano teacher. Record some exercises/studies you are working on, or perform a piece as if you would to a live audience. But remember, the first time you hear yourself you will surely cringe, so be prepared for that! After a while that passes and you become used to hearing yourself playing. If you’re curious about some more technical approaches to recording your practise, check out this interesting article on the subject.

Call us today and get 20% off your first piano lesson!

Take care of your hands

music lessons, guitar lessons, take care of your hands

As a guitarist and guitar teacher in Melbourne my hands are my livelihood. As such I’ve gone to some lengths to ensure they aren’t damaged from everyday use. Immanuel Kant wrote, “The hand is the visible part of the brain” which is how it feels when playing the guitar. There are some things I have chosen not to do as I know it will risk the dexterity of my hands. My first job out of school was to be a dish cleaner at a local restaurant. I would spend up to 6 hours with my hands submerged in hot soapy water leaving them wrinkled, peeling and soft. My steel strings would then shred my poor hands when I got home to practice. I have been wanting to get into Jiu Jitsu and boxing but I know my hands will likely be twisted, yanked and slammed leaving them feel like sloths rather than gymnasts. We want all guitar students to make sensible choices about how they use their hands. I certainly don’t think you should become like Seinfeld’s character George Costanza when he becomes a hand model but safe, sensible and respectful use is a great path. Have your teacher in your guitar lessons give you some warm up tips and hand stretching exercises to keep your precious hands in peak performance!