• Kacey Link

How Much Should I Practice?

It's the start of the academic year and everyone's trying to build a good schedule. Low and behold, this question always comes my way: how much should I (or my child) be practicing every day/week?

Being a concert pianist and piano teacher, this is such a loaded question for me. My formative teacher, Sequeira Costa, told me that practicing the piano was like eating or breathing. In other words, he wanted me to practice 8 hours a day (which I did back then)! Now, I practice much less, but if I have to play a concert or need to be in shape, then I have to practice a good 3–4 hours per day. However, if I am teaching 5 hours and vocal coaching another 3 hours, then practicing 4 hours that day, doesn't usually happen...

So, this brings me to my next point, you need to practice the amount that will work for you. Set an expectation that is manageable and realistic. When I was a student, it was manageable for me to practice 8 hours a day, but now when I have a full workday, 2 hours is much more realistic for me. However, if I need to prepare for something, I know that I need to rearrange my schedule to allow for more practice time.

The next point is that the most important thing is to practice regularly, in other words, every day. Piano playing uses your muscles and those muscles in your hands, arms, and back need to be worked with consistency in order to form properly and to be maintained. This will also prevent injury. Moreover, when you're learning a new piece, your brain is so much happier to review a piece every day. If you only look at it once a week or every couple of days, it's like a new piece every time you sit down. This is painful for everyone!

In short, I recommend for students to practice every day between 5–30 minutes. Of course, I prefer 30 minutes and much more if you're advanced. But if 5 minutes is a more reasonable expectation for a very busy day, then 5 is better than none. I also recommend trying to practice at the same time every day. You want it to become a habit and part of the schedule. Maybe you get up early and practice before school. Or maybe you are a night owl that likes to play after dinner. In any case, the goal is to have a prescribed time set aside to practice—just like eating, according to Prof. Costa.

And remember, the more you practice the more you progress!

#pianopractice #pianolessons #pianoplaying #practicetips