Practicing Away from the Piano

The first time I have heard of this concept was last summer when I attended the Royal Conservatoire’s Piano Summer School. It’s such an interesting concept and it’s quite helpful before entering performances.

I usually have the music score out and follow my whole programme all the way through. It’s as tiring as playing it physically! Focussing on the quality of sound and being musical and relaxed.

I tend to get tension and forget to breathe when it comes to the sections that are extra challenging for me – which takes away a lot of space for the Music to breathe. I’ve been practicing on controlling it and being more engaged.

I am happy to say that I have improved a lot and this is the best I’ve ever been.

I’ll be doing much more practice away from the Piano, right now, I’m not doing it enough. It can be done any time of the day! From memory while you’re doing other things :)) Although, it’s best to be focussed on it 100%.

Keep striving guys! 🙂 You’ll get to where you want to be!

Much love,
Patricia

Exam Preparation Mindset: I’m Calm, I’m Ready & I Can Do This

Hi there,

As you all know I’ve a Piano Diploma Performance exam to prepare for and I’ve had a bit of a slump and panic last week. The constant worrying and overthinking, clouded mindset which prevented me from having an effective practice and focus during Piano lessons.

That’s all changed now! YAY! I’ve overcome that stage and now I’m in a calm phase before the performance. I’ve accepted that I am going to do this no matter what, so I might as well clear up my mind and approach this in a calm manner. (I hope to be as calm as my Piano teacher’s cat when the time comes! How cute is he?)

With a clearer mind, my practice sessions have been more productive and enjoyable. I have managed to run through my Piano Diploma programme twice now to work on my endurance. Still need to work on engaging with the pieces throughout but it’s getting there and I’m on the right track.

I’ve arranged to perform in front of some friends in my practice room to help me calm my nerves of performing in front of an audience which will benefit me for my exam. I am so grateful that they’re up for it! This is actually the first time I’m going to present my programme to my friends!

With only about a week left to the exam, I’d say I’m right where I’m supposed to be now. After 4 years, I’ve worked hard for this, I have prepared for this and now it’s time for me to do it! This is the best and most prepared I have been to date and I want to do this to the best of my ability – to enjoy performing and for the examiners and listeners to enjoy. I am excited!

Wish me all the best for it 🙂

~Patricia

Performance Exam Preparation…. *sighs*

Hi guys,

I’m currently preparing for my ARSM (Associate of the Royal Schools of Music) Piano Performance Diploma Exam this April.

How’s it going? I’m losing hope….. motivation……. and patience………

This always happens a fortnight before my performances, I get a sudden dip in motivation and I don’t seem to connect with what I’m practicing. Every time you force yourself to practice, it does more harm than good as nothing really processes.

Fingers crossed, I will run through my programme before the actual exam date. At this rate, I don’t see it happening 😦

Help! I need to inspire myself in one way or another. 😦

Much love,

Patricia

Productivity: Are You Progressing?

Hi there,

I’ve been super busy lately and I took a short break from blogging after my audition. Anyway, I hope you’re all well and that your week’s manageable! We’re halfway through, we can do this.

Do you ever feel stuck on what to work on? It’s like you feel guilty sometimes for not knowing what to do to be productive and progress in life. We all have those days! I’d like to share with you what I do to keep track of my progress.

With each practice session, I reflect beforehand and plan out what I want to achieve, so here are some tips to write down a practice journal. Music students, this will be beneficial for you!

(This will also be useful for study, work and in your everyday life, so if you get the grasp of it and be consistent with it, you’ll be doing great everyday! Feel free to use this and cater it to your own.)

Goals: At least 3 will do!

Before each practice session/day, write down what you would like to achieve in your practice session. It will give you an idea of what to work on and give you a structure for practice. 

Warm Ups and Pieces:

Write down the warm ups and pieces you’ll be practicing – each in a separate header. This will give you an outline on what you’ll be working on today.

Notes:

Write down what you practiced – which sections of your piece etc. and reflect on your playing

Progress: 3 points

Write down what you enjoyed about your practice and your achievements. It will boost your confidence and self-esteem!

Areas of Improvement: 3 points

Write down what you aren’t so satisfied with and still need to improve on. This will give you a good indicator of what to work on in your next practice session!

(The Practice Journal is a good way to keep track of your progress, especially when you’re feeling stuck and not sure what to work on. I also encourage you to make notes after your lesson to recap what you’ve done with your Instrumental teacher.)

I hope that you’ll find this useful! You’ll be surprised as to how productive you’ll be after taking time to set your daily goals – it also makes life a lot easier, who wouldn’t want that? Let me know how you get on.

Much love,
Patricia

A Typical Day in the Practice Room

Beethoven – Sonata ‘Pathetique’ in C Minor, Op. 13 2nd Movement ‘Adagio Cantabile’

Every week, I head to the Conservatoire for my lessons and practice. I’m quite fortunate to get music lessons from one of the best music conservatories in the world and get to use the facilities, making my experience worthwhile when I still have the time before heading off to do Music at university level.

A typical day for practice, on an ideal day is 4 hours, split morning and evening. I spend my evenings in the practice rooms in RCS on their grand pianos, to get used to the feel and touch of it – every piano has a different feel.

I usually have a routine, starting off with Hanons, scales and arpeggios as warm ups and usually spend 15-20 mins on it, then I take a tiny break to plan what to practice and what I want to get out of the session. I take my pieces apart, section by section, hands separately then together, focussing on the quality of sound rather than getting through it mindlessly.

Guilty for practising mindlessly, I get nothing good out of it and it does more harm than good.

When I start to get restless, I take a 10-15 min break then resume practice again. I like to change up my practice routine from time to time so it doesn’t get boring. I record the pieces I feel that are performance ready.

After my practice session, I write a reflection in my practice journal and see where else I can improve on. It works whenever I have a goal to reach. Consistency is key!

What’s your typical practice or daily routine like? I’d like to know 🙂

~Patricia