How to Play Better at your Lesson

By Jo Ann Vick


Ever wonder why when you get to your piano lesson your songs don't sound as good as they did at home?
There are a few reasons why this can occur, and there are some things you can do to play better.

First, when you go to your lesson you're playing on an instrument that you only play once a week. It may take a little time to adjust to the teacher's piano. Another reason is that you're playing for the teacher and want to do a good job and not make mistakes. Weak spots in your songs will usually show up when you get to your lesson. Here are a couple of ways to see immediate improvement:

  • Before you even start to play, "play" the song through silently in your head just to remind yourself of how it's going to sound. This helps you be mentally prepared for what's coming, especially if you've been playing another piece and have to switch to this piece. You can also remember where the hard spots are in the song and think about how fast you should play the song at the lesson. When you see a concert pianist on stage preparing to play a piece, you will see her sit perfectly still. Guess what she's doing?

  • Play slowly. It's a not a big surprise that most of your mistakes will go away if you just slow your song down. It gives you more time to read the notes, to look ahead, to direct your fingers to do what your eyes see is required, and to listen to what's coming out from your fingers. Think about the hardest parts of the song and play at a tempo where you can control the section and start the piece at that same speed.

Give these suggestions a try and see if you notice a marked improvement. If you can see it, I'm sure your teacher will notice too!

Jo Ann Vick is a private piano instructor with 20 years of training and performing experience
and has a home based studio in Frisco, Texas. Her mission is to develop in others, a love
for playing the piano. Her website is located at

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