Piano Practice Strategies for the Busy

The Most important thing is THAT your practice, not HOW LONG you practiceDo you ever feel like you’re so busy with life that the business of it is a crushing load that takes your breath away? How in the world can you carve out a big chunk of time for our piano practice??! I have found that the most important thing is THAT you practice, not HOW LONG you practice. Here are some strategies that will help you find a tiny bit of time for piano on your busiest days. I’ll also include some ideas that will make any time you spend practicing piano more productive.


Piano Location

Make sure that your piano or keyboard is located where you pass by it frequently when at home. If it is more convenient, you will be more prone to sit down and play for a few minutes. When I live in a house, it’s in my living room, right next to my desk. In the camper, it’s dead center. I can’t ever be more than a few feet away from it! My mom likes to tell people that when I was a kid, I’d run inside to get something in my room, sit down and play a song and then run back outside. (I seemed to always be running when I was little!)

Piano Books

Keep your books on the piano or stacked within reaching distance from the bench. When your music is waiting for you it’s like having a plate of cookies on the kitchen counter. It will be devoured without thinking about it.

The “Gap Minute” Practice

Play for a minute whenever you have time. You know that extra 3 minutes before you have to leave for work, or that 5 minutes while you’re waiting for your Mom to call supper? Those are the times that you can sit down and play a song or two. Play whatever is open on the piano, or get that pesky scale fingering figured out.

Piano Practice Mindset

Piano practice is about finishing small goals.  You get the big assignments at your lesson, but the small practice goals are how they get completed. Each goal should take between 1-5 minutes to complete. For example: You have 3 pages of music to learn for your next lesson. Some of your first goals might include learning a line by practicing one hand at a time, one measure at a time and then hands together on that measure and adding the other measures of that line in the same way until the whole line is finished. This should only take 2 to 5 minutes.  Here are some time based goals for you to think about.

1 Minute Goals

  • Practice your scale
  • Play through a repertoire piece from memory
  • Play through any one page of music that you’ve already learned
  • Learn 1 new measure hands together in any song you’re working on

2 Minute Goals

  • Learn 2 measures of music hands together
  • Play through two pages of music you’ve already learned
  • Play through a repertoire piece reading the music
  • Take a picture of your theory and send it to me

3-5 Minute Goals

  • Learn 1 line of music hands together
  • Play through 3 pages of music you already know
  • Complete your theory assignment for the week
  • Check your counting on a song
  • Add dynamics or articulation to a passage or a song

There are tons of great tiny practice ideas out there, these are just a few to get you started. The great thing about having a bunch of small practice goals, is that a longer practice, say, 30 minutes, is just a collection of smaller practice goals. You can achieve quite a bit if you break it down into tiny pieces!

Okay, let’s get this super practical. Take a minute and think about your day. Are there any tiny bits of time where you could practice one of these ideas?

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