12 Ways A Pianist Can Work Less And Get Better Results

teach yourself pianoA high school student named Steve works 10 hours per week, is taking 3 honors classes, plays sax in the high school band, runs track and still continues improving his piano playing.  How is Steve pulling this off?

He employs the principle 80/20.

Nancy works full time, is married, maintains an active social life and exercises at the gym five days per week.  However, she still continues developing her piano technique and expanding her repertoire.  Her secret is following the principle 80/20.

Isn’t it about time you started doing what these other successful piano students do to improve their skills while working on the best piano lessons?

In “The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less,” author Richard Koch reveals an easier and faster way to achieve excellent results in all different aspects of your life.

Many authors, including Koch, draw on the Pareto Principle theory.  In 1897 Vifredo Pareto, an Italian economist, discovered the principle and showed that 80% of results come from 20% of your efforts.

The following are 12 different ways the 80/20 principle can be used to achieve great results without putting in a lot of effort. These are some of the best ways to teach yourself piano.

1.  Practice 10 to 15 minutes each day.  Practicing for 2 hours one time each week will not be nearly as effective.

2.  Instead of playing the whole song poorly, learn 4 of the pieces measures very well.

3.  Plan out in advance what music you will play during each practice session.

4.  Instead of speeding through all of the 12 scales every day, practice one different scale each day.  Use correct timing, fingering and technique.

5.  Instead of trying to memorize a whole chords catalog, learn one chord of every type (major 6th, 7th, diminished and so on).

6.  Instead of using place marks for your repertoire pieces inside your piano books, place them inside a loose-leaf notebook.

7.  Instead of relying on being inspired by your own playing, find special selections and listen to recordings of them.

8.  Instead of creating particular left hand parts for every measure, choose an accompaniment patter for the song’s bridge and verses.

9.  Instead of relying on music for playing 25 songs, memorize five songs which you can play anywhere at any time instead of using music to play 25 songs.

10.  Instead of playing the blues scale randomly, create a short melodic figure (repeating motive).  Use this for improvising on 12 bar blues.

11.  Instead of following chords printed inside a Fake Book, arrange a song ahead of time by setting patterns up of ii-V-I progressions.

12.  Set up performance opportunities for yourself that are low pressure (play for fellow students, family members, friends etc) on a regular basis. That way your goals will have time frames or deadlines for you to bring your pieces to performance level by certain dates.

Action Exercises

You can immediately do these three things to put the ideas into action.

The first thing you can do is choose one or two methods listed in the 12 ways above that fit in well with your level, style and personality.  Start using them right away for your practicing.

The second thing you can do is start each practice session by playing the most important piece of music for you.  One exception to this is if the selection requires you warm up prior to playing it with exercises or scales, do them before starting on your main pieces.

The third thing you can do is record yourself now and then 30 days later to monitor your progress.

After you start to notice the differences in how you play the piano, you will be able to clearly see that your progress is due to focusing on the most critical parts of your practicing.

If you start to use the 80/20 principle, it will amaze you at just how fast you will start getting better results with less effort from practicing the piano.

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