Simple answer: YES, you need to study before your piano lesson. Although this answer seems pretty clear for students who are already taking lessons for a few years, still beginners are pretty confused about this topic.
In this article I’m going to reply to a few questions, in particular:
It depends on your level. Like everything, the most important thing is the quality rather than quantity. 2 hours of study time are useless if you have a coffee break for 20 minutes in between. The important thing is the quality of the time you spend studying, meaning, the focus you’re putting in your study.
On the internet, there are plenty of tips you can learn about studying focused. What we can learn is that our brain takes 30 minutes to refocus after you get distracted (https://www.themuse.com/advice/this-is-nuts-it-takes-nearly-30-minutes-to-refocus-after-you-get-distracted). Therefore, it’s good to avoid distractions and preplan our practice session with the help of our teacher.
It’s crucial to preplan what are we going to do in our practice session. There are different reasons for doing so:
This last point is really important! There’re plenty of beginners that study just one piece a day. Since playing the piano involves a lot of different things, our brain needs to interiorize movements, musical passages, and so on.
Our brain is like a muscle and, as such, it needs repetition to “grow”. Since this article is not an essay about how our mind and memory work, I’m doing an oversimplification of this subject. For acquiring a particular skill or for nailing a simple passage, we need to repeat it over and over. Of course, repeating one specific measure just for one day is not sufficient enough, since we’re committing that measure in our short term memory. How many students came to me to lessons saying: “it was working out so well at home…”. Of course, in this case, different factors are the reason for this problem: one of those is about not having in the long term memory that particularly tricky passage. For solving this problem, we need what learning experts call “Spaced repetition”: we need to repeat the same thing at different times, which also means different days. To sum up, it’s better to study a piece shortly, focusing on a few elements doing it regularly over different days.
In real life, we know that different things are going on at the same time; something unexpected came up on that day, which made it impossible for us to study. It’s normal, we’re humans, and life reserves us plenty of unforeseen events. It’s okay if for a day we skip our piano practice routine. The problem is when those unexpected events take control of our life, impeding us to take whatever action. Therefore it’s vital to talk with our piano teacher and figure out a more straightforward and less time-consuming practising routine. It’ll take longer to reach your expectation, but it’s better than leaving playing the piano only an unrealized dream.
This doesn’t mean that when you feel your throat tightened, you are always very nervous. It means that there are some built-in habits at work that you need to change through continuous exercises and preferably vocal lessons with a good teacher so you will get the right feedback. In this way the tight feeling will gradually decrease. I hope that this blog gave you a starting point of where to look for making your singing feel nicer.
As you can see from this article, it’s not only about taking and managing your piano lesson. It’s also about learning and knowing more about the whole learning experience. That’s what makes Studio MusicalMente philosophy different from the other music school. It’s thought for adults learners who need to know how the process is. We create awareness and artistic independence. Please take a look at our piano lesson page to discover more about our activities!