Practice slowly. Practicing slowly catches the details of the music. Slow practice is like putting the music under a microscope….you see all areas for improvement and much more detail. Taking your time helps you to learn carefully and to master the piece. Work with your hands separately at first.
Practice without the pedal at first. While the pedal makes everything sound better, pedaling too early makes it easy to miss details in the music. Work to learn the notes and phrasing first and then add the pedaling and dynamics.
Take small sections. Learn small portions of the music in the beginning. It is tempting to learn large chunks to save time. The problem is that taking on too much of the music can be overwhelming. If you take tiny sections at a time and master them, you will be able to sustain productive practice much longer.
Figuring out corrections. Fixing a mistake isn’t enough. After you have mastered a correction, go back and connect the music ahead of and behind the corrected area. This helps to ensure the error doesn’t recur.
Use the 80/20 Rule: If you focus the majority of your time on the few places that are weak, you will get much better results that practicing the whole piece from beginning to end.
Regular daily practice enhances the ability to learn new materials and your musicianship. Try setting aside a regular time of the day when life stops – for example, 7:30pm, I’m taking a break at the piano for 30 minutes. By making practicing a part of your daily routine your skills will jump ahead and so will your enjoyment. Have fun making music!