How to learn to play piano quickly?
How to become a keyboard virtuoso?
By Frédéric Bernachon
It’s a question that I’m often asked, and the response will surely surprise many pianists, both amateurs and experienced. And it is to practice slowly. It is as simple as that. But beware, speeding up is only relevant for students who are already at an intermediate or advanced level. Beginners must concentrate their efforts on acquiring sight-reading and keyboard technique.
In piano : deciphering before anything
Before anything else, classical piano pieces must be deciphered. Depending of their complexity and the student’s skill in deciphering, this stage can take from one hour to several days. Following deciphering, we will need to build, note by note, from one bar to the next. This slow work will include a number of technical exercises that will enable better integration and memorisation of the text. During this process, we will concentrate on the control of each finger. Practicing slowly allows for the integration of the piece of music in our kinetic memory. In a certain way, we memorise the piece with our hands and fingers. The slower, the better you will remember it. By practicing slowly, you can finish a task without any mistakes, the speed being around 2 to 4 times slower than the normal playing speed for any given piece.
In piano do not stick on the score nd work slowly
Once you’ve finished playing slowly, you must now try to avoid thinking about the piece note by note, measure by measure. You should no longer be thinking of each finger, but see the entire passage. By talking with someone whilst playing, you will gain acquiring a degree of autonomy. A far more difficult exercise would be to try and read a book or a newspaper at the same time. The purpose of this exercise is to disconnect the conscious mind whilst keeping the piece as fluid as possible.
And it’s this kinetic memory that comes to our aid, to remember the movement as a whole. Don’t be discouraged since it takes time and perseverance for this to become automatic. Complete automation allows us to play piano quicker. But once again, patience and slow practice is a key to playing the piano faster.