• Musical Growth: Improvement Vs Maintenance

    in Piano

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    There are two things you must be mindful of in every distinctive stage of your musical growth:



    In this lesson we’ll be looking each of them and a proper understanding of what they imply will help you manage and maximize your daily practice routine.

    Alright! I would want to assume that you know about the concept of practicing and practice routines. Therefore, let’s get started by breaking down the concepts of improvement and maintenance practice.

    Improvement Practice: Making New Friends

    It’s NOT enough to practice. It is important for you to practice like you’re making new friends.

    The same way you come across people you think are cool to be friends with, try to start up a discussion with them, get acquainted with them, and more, that’s how to approach a practice session.

    Look for concepts, ideas, techniques, progressions, songs, etc., that you’re not familiar with and start up a conversation with them, then get acquainted with them (figuratively).

    “Here’s What I Mean…”

    Starting Up The Conversation

    The practice session should be approached like you’re getting started with a conversation. You should be observant and open.

    Just like in real life where friends might give you good or bad initial responses, you can either play an unfamiliar concept easily or find it challenging.

    If you find it challenging, try again — don’t give up.

    However, after trying repeatedly and it’s way beyond your scope, it is recommended that you try practicing something simpler.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The “Official Guide To Piano Playing.” Click here for more information.

    Getting Acquainted

    After practicing unfamiliar ideas for a while, you’ll get acquainted with them. You’ll get this feeling associated with finding out the similarities and differences between you and a newfound friend.

    I’m talking about feelings like:

    “You love traveling? I do too.”

    “Your birthday is on the 4th of November? That’s my birthday too.”

    In this case, you’ll respond thus:

    “Oh! This is almost like the major 2-5-1 chord progression in the key of A major”

    “Wow! I’ve come across this progression in the key of Db major”

    At this point, you’re getting more comfortable and confident and the ideas are no longer unfamiliar.

    Maintenance Practice: Keeping Up with Old Friends

    There’s another dimension to practice that you must not take lightly and that’s practicing like you’re keeping up with old friends.

    Making new friends is good. However, it is also important for us to learn how to keep the old ones because you never can tell when you’ll be needing their help.

    If your friend in the 90s becomes the president of your country and you’ve not had a conversation with him for decades and memories are even fading out gradually, how do you take advantage of that friendship that you’ve not been keeping up with?

    It would be a lot easy if you keep the communication going, meet from time to time, and more. But when you’ve lost touch, you’ll have to revive the friendship again.

    “This Happens A Lot With Musical Skills Too…”

    It is important to maintain the musical skills you’ve acquired and this is like keeping up with old friends. This is because after a while of not keeping up, the tendency of “getting rusty” or losing the skill is there.

    If musical skills are not maintained, you might be unable to execute those skills with clockwork precision in a live performance situation and trust me when I say it doesn’t feel good.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The “Official Guide To Piano Playing.” Click here for more information.

    Final Words

    The key to having a balanced practice routine is practicing both for improvement and for maintenance.

    A vast majority of musicians focus on either the improvement or the maintenance aspect of practice. But from what we’ve┬ácovered in this lesson, I’m doubly sure that you will have a balanced practice session.

    Keep up the great work!

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as the head of education, music consultant, and chief content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with hundreds of thousands of musicians across the world.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.



    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }


    wAOH! I love this one so much. Thanks Man of God (MoG).


    2 Carolyn

    What great wisdom on Improvement and Maintenance Practice. I just love reading these post, they are very valuable and helps me to stay focus and stay on track . I am practicing for improvement and maintenance. You all have such great ideas, I am so thankful that someone has been in these shoes before and know what it’s like to not understand everything about music theory. I thank God for you all. This ministry has truly helped me. I have learned so much in three month than I have in 30 years. I were ready to change my situation, so I went on a search hunt for help and I found Jermaine Griggs site and it attracted my attention. Thanks for the Staff he has to help someone like me. I will always appreciate you all kindness and concern to help me take my music to the next level. God Bless you


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