Beginner Piano Lessons | Why Practice is Important

This content was created for Curtis Music Academy

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Curtis Music Academy Podcast. I hope you’re all having a good week and are enjoying the beginning of summer. Today I wanted to talk about why practice is important for mastering an instrument or a skill. I know there was an earlier podcast that discussed some ways to make your practice sessions more enjoyable and productive, and some of the reasons for why practice is important may have been mentioned briefly there. However, I think this is such a vital topic for all students of beginner piano lessons to understand that I wanted to make an entire podcast about it. I know when I was in middle and high school orchestra, one of the things that would annoy our conductor the most was when students would neglect to practice. And it was easy to see why, you could see a clear difference in the progress of the students who chose to take time out of their personal lives to practice and those who chose not to.

Those who decided to regularly practice their instrument would improve at a much faster pace and experience much more success. It is really easy to see which students are truly dedicated to their beginner piano lessons and are willing to practice it on their own and those that are not. And that’s really important because most of our students here at Curtis Music Academy have one lesson a week, and we have a few that come in twice a week. Either way, on the majority of the days each week, you will not have beginner piano lessons with your instructor. And if you are only practicing your instrument during your lesson, you’re only getting in one thirty-minute practice session a week. You wouldn’t expect success in any other discipline, whether it be running, cooking, basketball, `knitting, whatever, if you were only choosing to practice it once a week for thirty minutes.

There is so much time between each practice session, by the time the next one rolls around, you have already forgotten most or all of your previous session’s work and progress. So as you can see, the pace of improvement will be very slow, and in some instances may even go backwards. Practicing your instrument is what will allow you to truly get to know it and continue to master it. If you are not willing to practice your instrument outside of beginner piano lessons, you will be wasting money paying for lessons each week, because so much of each lesson will be consumed with talking about what you learned in the previous lesson that you have since forgotten because you were unwilling to practice.

Your instructor may also become frustrated because they won’t be able to learn the exciting new material they had prepared for you, because here at Curtis Music Academy, we don’t have a set lesson schedule and progress map. We create an individual beginner piano lessons plan for each student based on the experience they have when they come to us and what their eventual goals are regarding their ability on their instrument. But when we make those plans, we hope that the student will be choosing to practice their instrument on their own time as well because they enjoy it and they want to get better. Them choosing not to communicates that they are not very serious about advancing themselves as a musician.

There is also only so much an instructor can teach during a thirty-minute session. True understanding of a method or a musical arrangement takes both time and repetition. True memorization takes a lot of repeating, the most lenient estimates are somewhere in the twenties or thirties, but of course, there is always room for improvement in skills like an instrument. Also, practicing on your own time allows you the opportunity to find yourself as a musician, and also find areas that your instructor may not choose in lessons to discuss or explore. Because beginner piano lessons are typically only thirty minutes long and, as talented as our instructors are, they are not perfect, it is always good to add more minds to look at something to have different ideas or questions about it.

Finding on your own areas you have questions about or are unsure about gives you things to bring to your instructor in your next lesson to discuss or explain to further enrich your musical understanding and experience. This also creates an extra element of personalization in your lessons, because you are able to identify the areas and things you are most wanting to work on. Finally, regular practice sessions make your musical experience more rewarding. It can be really discouraging going to lessons each week if you are seeing minimal or no progress at all, and it can cause burnout and students choosing not to continue with their instrument, and that’s an opportunity lost. But if students are choosing to practice regularly, they will see much greater improvement in their abilities in a much shorter amount of time, which will encourage them to continue with their current beginner piano lessons and practice habits, and they will continue to see this solid, rapid progression in their instrument, and it just creates a positive feedback loop.

And honestly, the longer you stick with an instrument the more fun it gets. As a beginner it can get boring to practice the same five notes over and over, but it is necessary to master baseline understanding and technique. But if you stick with the instrument and continue to practice, the pieces become more and more enjoyable and complex, and then you are able to actually tailor the pieces you want to practice because you can play at a high enough level to be able to comprehend the music behind a recognizable song you love. So, as you can see, practice is really fundamental to choosing to study a musical instrument and is really the main determinant in how much and how quickly you will be able to progress in your study. Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Curtis Music Academy Podcast.