More than One Bar at A Time

Looking Past One Bar at A time


 

 

When beginning to take piano lessons, I find that students often focus all their concentration at completing one bar at a time. Most of this struggle is technical; these beginner students are being bogged down by the challenge of physically coordinating their fingers. While this is perfectly normal to begin with, it is important look at the bigger rhythmic picture, to play the music and not just a finger exercise.

So why the fuss about having to look past one bar at a time? When we are learning, we should take it slow and in small chunks right? Yes! To some degree. Eventually, after a lot of repetitive practice, muscle memory will help connect those bars together

However, muscle memory, especially when done by blocked practicing, is an ineffective way of practicing. A lot of this progress will disappear overnight!

What are some ways to help look past one bar at a time?

 

1.Practice Your Scales!

  • By gaining more flexibility and agility with your fingers, you will be less concerned with the technical aspect of completing a bar. Instead of looking for the finish line at the end of one bar, look at the finish line of every four bars

2. Practice Sightreading!

  • Sightreading is a great skill to have as a musician.  To be able to play any piece by looking at the first time you see it,  the student must know their notes and rhythms, and be confident in their technique.

3. Look At The Big Picture

  • How long is the melody? Is it connected by a phrase mark? Where is the peak/climax of the melody? You should always aim to finish a melodic phrase while playing. Otherwise, it’s kind of like a sentence that never….

 

…ends!

 

Add meaning to music! Analyze what the composer intended when he or she wrote this song, and you will likely play this piece better. Remember, this is an art form, not a set of technical requirements. While this is tough for the beginner students, it is better to get a good understanding of music right from day one.

 

Take Piano Lessons in Victoria, B.C with Eric Ng

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