One question which gets asked by every new, prospective or transfer student sooner or later, but also by established students who might feel their current routine needs a little tweaking, is how often and for how long should they practice piano.
Learning to play the piano takes time and effort, and the answer to the question of how often and for how long to practice varies greatly. Each student’s current level of ability and goals must be considered thoroughly. I will delve into this in a separate article.
However, for anyone who came here looking for a quick answer to a seemingly simple question, the answer is: at the very beginning, a very bare minimum of thirty minutes of daily, focused, goal oriented piano practice six days a week is required, in order to see tangible improvements.
Breaking down that answer, let’s focus on its components:
– “At the very beginning” means half hour daily is going to be ok only as the student starts piano lessons and for the initial months. As the student progresses, more practice time will be required if improvement is what is sought.
– “A very bare minimum” means that anything less than half hour daily will result in slower progress or no progress at all, therefore one or two sides of the piano lessons triangle of efficiency are getting weaker and the structure might collapse.
– “Daily” is self explanatory. Six days a week, one day off per week.
– “Focused” means no distractions, no phones and no electronics except those which are required for piano practice. No scrolling socials and no interruptions except for scheduled breaks.
– “Goal oriented” means everything students do during their practice time at the instrument should have a purpose: the clearer students formulate such purposes in their minds, the more goal oriented and efficient practice time becomes. The opposite of “Goal oriented” is “Absent minded” i.e. running the fingers up and down the keyboard with the brain switched off, hoping that by some sort of magic the hands and fingers will do the right thing.
As the teacher I put great effort during lesson time demonstrating, explaining and offering practice opportunities in breaking down bigger goals (learning a piece of music) into smaller, achievable goals, mini-goals (i.e. play four bars, play two bars, play one bar, play one bar with one hand only, just tap the rhythm of one bart, just voice the rhythm of one bar, etc).
As stated earlier, the answer to the question of how often and for how long to practice piano varies depending on the student’s individual needs and goals. However, a good starting point for beginners is to practice for at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week. As the student progresses, they may need to practice for longer periods of time in order to achieve their goals.
If you are serious about learning to play the piano, it is important to make time for regular practice. By following my tips, you can start developing a practice routine that will help you walk your musical journey and become a better pianist.