The piano is just like a mirror under your fingers rather than on the wall. It shows you, honestly, what you can and can not do yet.

There were many times that I thought I understood something well enough and felt 'ready for business'; only to find out, by fumbling on the keyboard, that I was not fully prepared.

Now, if you're alone when this happens it's not so bad. You can practice up and straighten out the rough passage. When you play in public or on an exam and find out you're off the mark, that's not a pleasant feeling.

So, how do you use the piano as a mirror to prevent a public fumble, and learn about yourself? Two easy things to do are:

1) When you think you've got it all down pat, record yourself and tell yourself it can't be re-recorded or edited. You'd be surprised how that pressure will flush out weaknesses.
2) Do a small recital for a few friends. Again, the pressure of a deadline will not only flush things out into the open, it could make you practice more beforehand.

If you find a weakness it is important to narrow down the cause.

  • Is it your touch on the keyboard?
  • Is it your ear that isn't clear on what the sound is supposed to be like?
  • Are your eyes not looking far enough ahead if you're still reading the music?
  • Does your mind not really know what is needed for this particular music?

Once you understand where the weakness or mistake is you can do something about it.

  • Touch can be helped by technical exercises.
  • Ear training, or simply listening slowly and repeatedly helps with security of the ear.
  • Just being aware and making yourself read and think ahead is a huge help with reading.
  • Making time to stop, analyze and understand before playing builds the mind and confidence.

Being responsible for your own actions and being honest with what needs to be done is half the battle in doing a good job and feeling good about your choices.

The biggest thing the piano has done for me; and it has done many good things; is it has made me more honest with myself. It's like a lie detector. You think you know something? Show me!

The practice must be right into the body. Then it can come out when you need it to. True for so many other things in life as well.

Happy practicing.

Author's Bio: 

Having an A.R.C.T. from the Royal Conservatory of Music Canada as well as an ability to improvise and compose, John Agius is recognized for creative solutions to multiple issues students have with learning the piano. Along with teaching, he is known for being personable and filling the space brightly, performing piano at parties and events. Some of these events include the Alaskan Cruise and the China Orient Express.

Having taught piano and performed for over 26 years John has a proven ability to bring music and learning to life.

To see more detailed examples of learning, particularly related to the piano, visit John's website:

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