How much piano practice is enough?

Much practice. Great Practice Question

by Ben (England)

Hello! Nice website I love the practice tips.I'm auditioning at the moment for music colleges I and around London.I'm playing 4-6 hours a day. At the moment I am speed building trying to get my semi-quavers to 160 on the metronome (ticking crotchets), somedays I get close then immediately the next day I come no where close to my previous speed but feel it's my max.

Then I get annoyed and have to stop practicing out of sheer frustration, THEN I get more annoyed because I have so much more to practice! Eg other recital pieces, new notes etc...Any tips?Many thanks, Ben

Comments for Much practice

Hi Ben, Thanks for your question. It's a great one. It can be challenging to be in the audition process and feel pressure to achieve certain speeds and technique.

I'm sure you already know that speed can't really be forced - it's a function of time and (perfect) practice. Your speed naturally increases the more you work and the more the music becomes part of your muscle memory.

However, here's a tip one of my former teachers shared with me about increasing speed. Set your metronome one setting higher than the speed you want to achieve. Practice this way for a couple of practice sessions on a particular passage or piece. (I don't recommend doing this with everything you're working on, all at once!)

Then take the metronome down to your goal speed and you will hopefully find some improvement. I think of this as "top down" instead of "bottom up" - instead of pushing up each notch, go higher and relax down into the goal speed. Also, make sure to release all tension, and take a break when yo feel frustration. Stretch, walk around, play chopsticks.

Hope this is helpful for you!

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