Each student has different practice needs, according to their age, level of expertise, and other considerations. Generally, beginners will start with 10-15 minutes a day and will work up from there. However, whether you are practicing 10 minutes a day or 4 hours, the following guidelines should be observed.

Daily practice is a must!

It is through daily practice that quick progress, and the resulting sense of satisfaction derived from learning to play proficiently, can be achieved. Otherwise, the student runs the risk of becoming seriously frustrated and losing interest in studying music. That being said, there will be days that are very busy and the proper amount of time can’t be put into piano practice. In this case, anything is better than nothing. I suggest playing through all the songs that are assigned that week once slowly for 5 minutes on days like this. This keeps the songs in the fingers and instructions in the memory until a longer practice session can be had.

The student needs a practice environment relatively free of distractions and
disturbances.

It is very important to keep the area where the piano lives free of television, stereos, phones, computers, conversation, etc., to the greatest extent that the amount of space and the size of your household will permit. At the very least, make sure all electronic devices are turned off before practicing.

The student needs to work practice time into their daily routine.

Parents of younger students need to support their children in doing this. It is a very rare child that has the self-discipline to practice regularly without helpful reminders and support in scheduling. It is also a rare adult who will be able to master fitting piano practice into their busy schedule during the first week of lessons. Developing discipline for practice is a process and is just as much a part of music lessons as learning to play music.

For both child and adult students, practicing at the same time every day, either according to the clock or the flow of the day (before school, after dinner, etc.) is ideal and makes for an easier rhythm to establish and follow. Generally, Morning practice is best for working on new material, evening is best for improvising and playing solely for enjoyment. However, whenever a student can get to the piano is the best time to practice. On days with less structure (week-ends, holidays, etc.) it is best to plan ahead and mark a time that fits with the day’s events in your schedule. If you are a parent of a student, find a mutually agreeable time with your child. I am happy to help you in the process of coming up with a practice schedule.

The student needs an instrument in good working order.

  • Piano – as we will be learning specifically about playing the piano and all of the various tone colors that can be achieved through different piano techniques, having a real piano in the home is ideal. It needs to be reasonably in-tune and in good repair¬† (no broken keys, pedals working, etc.). I can suggest ways of finding and purchasing a piano without taking out a second mortgage.
  • Electric piano – This is an OK choice, especially for people who have less space, live in an apartment where they can’t have a piano or who move around frequently. Korg and Yamaha are very good brands.
  • Electronic keyboard – This is not my favorite option by any stretch of the imagination, but is acceptable for a beginner as long as the keyboard has at least 60 full-sized, weighted, touch-sensitive keys and either an attachable damper pedal, or a plug where one will fit in the future.
  • Organ, Harpsichord or Clavichord – These instruments require a completely different technique from the piano. They are not at all suitable for piano practice.If you want to learn how to play one of these fine instruments, i can direct you to a suitable teacher.