There are many reasons why a pianist may need to practice away from the piano. One may be that they are traveling and are unable to have access to an instrument. If a student is in the process of moving or on vacation, having other ways to practice during these times can be really important.
Sometimes, students may have an injury that they are recovering from that prevents them from practicing, too. (Jammed finger playing basketball, anyone??) I have struggled with tendonitis off and on for years due to taking a tennis class while preparing for auditions (I do not recommend this!). Because of this, I have had to find other ways to practice my pieces away from my instrument when I need to give my body a break.
Here are three ways your child can practice away from the piano:
Use body percussion to reinforce rhythms and hand coordination.
Students can practice patting the right and left hand rhythms on their laps using the corresponding hands. Seriously, this is a great to practice away from the piano! I mentioned this in my 10 Easy Practice Tips for Beginners. It’s a great way to internalize rhythms when away from the piano. And, students are able to isolate each hand and/or play them together to provide the same macro movement you would at the piano. Sometimes, this can be a really fun, tricky way to practice, too, depending on the piece!
Analyze and study the score while listening to recordings.
This is an obvious way to practice away from the piano because students don’t need a piano to analyze and listen to their music. Get on YouTube or Spotify and listen to multiple recordings. Take a deeper look into the chord progressions. What are the interval relationships in the melody? Look at the form of the piece overall. Are there any subtle differences when sections repeat? This all reinforces a student’s work on piece of music.
Use visualization to play the piece.
Okay, so this is a little more complicated because it is using the mind’s eye to practice rather than the body. The student can sit themselves down in a quiet place and imagine themselves playing through the piece. What does the piano feel like to touch? What kinds of sounds are coming from the instrument? How does their body feel moving to play every note? They can even imagine the performance experience itself by visualizing a concert hall or venue. For more information on this very useful technique, check out this article.
Has your child practiced using any of these techniques away from the piano? Share in the comments below!