View Full Version : 5 Mistakes Pianists Make

06-07-2010, 06:01 AM
Hi guys! I know I'm new, but I see this entire section of the forum is empty so I figured I might as well share a little bit of knowledge that I have. I'm not an experience Pianist, I'm saying this now, and nor am I taught by any piano teacher. Everything here is posted by my own research and explorations on the piano. It may not all be accurate according to professionals, but these are a few of mistakes I have worked through.

#1 Using the Keyboard Learning Program
When you buy your first keyboard, you generally buy a cheap one because it's your first instrument. This is absolutely fine, of course, but they all usually come with a "Learning Program" and song books. The Learning Program usually contains 100's of songs that the keyboard can teach you how to play without music theory. Sounds great right? Do not be fooled. By using this program you skip over learning theory. Without theoy, you don't know what each key is, you only remember how it looks and/or feels. This will not help you when you want to expand your playing onto different songs because you won't know any theory.

#2 Looking at the Keys while Playing
This is a HUGE mistake that people make (and it is generally while using the Learning Program). If you are looking at the keys while you're playing then you're not looking at your sheets. If you're not looking at your sheets, you're making life more difficult for yourself. You are making life more difficult because if you were used to reading the music (or doing sight reading) even if you falter on a part, you can easily keep reading and playing. If you're not looking at you're sheets you have to memorize each bar/section and that takes a lot more time. Also, I've found, that when I'm looking at the keys I can't remember the progression as well and playing is much more about "pushing buttons" then hearing the music. If you're not focused on which key to press and you're leaving that to your muscle memory, then the music "flows" through you much better. It's much, much more enjoyable.

#3 Buying a Keyboard Without Touch Sensitivity
Alright, a beginning Keyboardist might not understand what "touch sensitivity" really means, but here I'll share with you. Touch Sensitivity on a keyboard gives it a more "acoustic" feeling. When you play an actual piano, you can feel the strings moving under your touch and are able to create many different tones just by how swiftly you touch. A keyboard with touch sensitivity is trying to "mimic" that tone variation to make the keyboard seem more like a piano and to give it more variety. That being said, if you buy a non-touch sensitive keyboard you are buying a keyboard with only one tone for each key. Therefore, there is no "softer" and "louder" moments, there is just one simple sound no matter how swiftly or slowly you push it. This gives the play much less versatility and fails to represent the musician's unique style of playing.

#4 Playing Like a Spider
You're probably wondering "huhhhh?", but I promise I do have a point. A lot of beginning pianist, or even experienced ones who have never been taught proper technique, have what I call "spidey hands". It's when your hands tense up while you're playing and you look like you have evil witch hands or something. When playing, it is much is easier to stay relaxed and calm with your hands to create more "flow" in your music. The physical act of playing should be much like a calm piece of Beethoven (Moonlight Sonata, for example). Swift, yet delicate and controlled. Also, calm and relaxed. It's a somewhat difficult thing to break this habit, but I promise your playing will be much easier once you do.

#5 Not Attempting to do Improv or Play by Ear
It's all great and nice if you know theory (truly it is), but sometimes true passion comes from being able to just go with the music set before you. This is called Improvision (or Improv). It is simply when a beat is played (or song, or whatever) and the musician just plays along. Nothing is pre meditated, it's all thought up in seconds.... Kinda like flying by the seat of your pants during a test you didn't study for. Improv is extremely intimidating to start because you don't know your instrument. Even if you suck (like me) it's ok! The more you do it, the better you get. It also betters you ear and helps you learn your instrument more. It can also lead to creating your own unique melodies!

My Second point is playing by ear. Yes, the first times you try this you will stink (unless you're like my brother and you have a natural "knack" for musical type things). But don't worry about it. We all stink in the beginning. By trying to figure out things by ear you train to to your instrument and that helps with improv, knowing when you made a mistake when you're playing, more ear training, and even developing your own pieces.

If you find anything inaccurate/unclear ect., please reply to this thread or PM me :).

Hope this was helpful,

06-12-2010, 05:14 PM
That was helpful - thanks for posting

06-12-2010, 07:41 PM
You're very welcome! Glad it helped :).

06-13-2010, 02:14 PM
I think you should write an article, maybe contact clive or guni?

06-13-2010, 08:39 PM
Oh really? Thank you very much, I'll take that as a compliment :). Um, yea I'll PM one of them about it. Although, other then this, I don't know much else of what I could write that would be too beneficial :/.

10-02-2010, 08:24 AM
Finally I saw this thread I was actually looking for some few tips to learn piano (http://takelessons.com/category/piano-lessons). Thank you for sharing your ideas.

11-03-2010, 01:36 AM
But if you have memorized your music, I argue it's useful to look at the keys if you need to make a big jump, e.g. in Chopin's Berceuse every bar in the left hand...
If you're just learning your music, yes, you need to look at the sheets.