Learning to play the keyboard often requires less instruction than for other instruments on which students first must learn how to get the instrument just to make sounds before moving on to learning the notes.
At first touch, a keyboard seems deceptively simple. Becoming a skilled keyboard player, however, requires as much practice, dedication and skill as playing any other musical instrument. Though you may be able to teach yourself how to play, and jump into seemingly impressive pieces, taking the time to hone basic skills can greatly improve your overall playing.
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Learn how to read music. If you typically play by ear, sight reading may be very difficult for you. Even if you don't plan to work with written music often, it's important to know all the notes and how they correspond to the keys on the keyboard. Working with scales and arpeggios is a useful way to practice this skill. Focus on looking at the sheet music while you play, rather than looking at your hands. Learning to read music will also help you to write your own pieces correctly.
Develop a solid warm-up routine. Musical warm-ups are nearly always tedious and monotonous, which is why they are so tempting to skip. Jumping right into the music may be more fun, but it won't help to hone your keyboard skills. Spend at least fifteen minutes warming up with scales, arpeggios and chords before you move on to other pieces. This will strengthen your muscles, increase your flexibility and greatly improve your overall keyboarding skills.
Practice with a metronome. A good internal rhythm can be extremely difficult to develop. Most people tend to gradually speed up as they work their way through familiar pieces or drastically slow down when struggling through difficult ones. Purchase a simple electronic metronome and keep it ticking while you play. Force yourself to stay in time with the metronome, even if it means leaving difficult sections behind. This will improve your inner rhythm and help you learn how to keep moving past blunders and mistakes -- an essential skill when performing live.
Relax and go with the flow. If you tense your shoulders, arms and hands when you're working on difficult pieces, your playing will suffer. Tense fingers are more likely to hit the wrong keys or to move too slowly. The frustration from these blunders can then cause you to tense up even more. Focus on keeping your hands loose and relaxed. Realise that mistakes happen and let them pass by without stressing over them.
Tips and warnings
- Experiment with many different types of music, such as classical and jazz, to develop a more diverse musical repertoire.
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