Practicing Away From the Keyboard
Learning how to practice is an important skill. There are so many different methods and ways to approach learning and practicing, yet, there are many musicians that are unaware of how to practice away from their instrument. As a pianist, most people believe practicing involves sitting at a piano with the music spread out on the stand and a metronome, drilling hard pieces over and over again until they sound just right. But as effective as drilling is, there is another method that can give you a different perspective of the music you are working on, provide a mental break from giving yourself all the work and you don’t have to have an instrument in front of you.
Just like in any other practice session, you need to set your intention or goal. You can go over rough rhythms, difficult dynamics or just use your imagination and visualize yourself performing it. I have found that practicing without my instrument allows myself to give my brain more information to work with and helps me put the music together the way I want to. This practice method can also be helpful when dealing with performance anxiety as a pre-performance practice method. Just look over the music while listening to the audio to get your head in the right space and prepare yourself for the art to come together.
Students of all ages can use this method to expand their practice techniques. Beginners can use it to learn basic or complex rhythms. Intermediates can use it to go to a deeper level with their music or bring more awareness to their playing. Advanced students can use this as a way to solidify their confidence in performances and competitions. As long as there’s something to learn, it will be discovered.