10 Common Mistakes Every Piano Student Makes

You’re attending your piano lessons in Hammersmith every week. You’re doing the at-home work that your Hammersmith piano teacher has told you to do. Everything’s going great – until it isn’t. Most piano students get caught out by mistakes that they don’t actually realise that they’re making.
Most of these mistakes happen when you’re outside of the classroom and when there’s no one there to correct your mistakes. As a result, these mistakes can turn into bad habits. If you know what to look out for, you can spot mistakes and fix them before they turn into hard-to-change habits.
We’re sharing 10 common mistakes that every piano student has made. They’re the things your Hammersmith piano teacher will notice during piano lessons and what they wish every student could know.

Mistake 1: You’re not actually practising between your Hammersmith piano lessons

Okay, hear us out. We all live busy lives, and you might have had every intention of practising your piano that day. We all go through times when it’s difficult to prioritise one task over the other. The reality is that you can’t expect to see results without practice. If you’re not seeing results, it’s easy to become disheartened. It’s a vicious cycle that keeps going round and round.
You want to allocate time in your day for practising your music. It might be 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes after dinner. Set a time that suits you and add it to your diary. You want to treat this practice time just like your Hammersmith piano lessons.
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Mistake 2: Hiding your keyboard or piano away

The last thing you should do is put your keyboard in a room that you never go into – or worse, a cupboard. You want to set your keyboard out somewhere that you’ll frequently go past. A living room or bedroom is a good idea as it’ll be easily accessible. Keeping your piano out as a visual reminder will encourage you to practice every day. You’ll have no excuse not to!

Mistake 3: You’re spending too long practising

It’s true – it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. While professional musicians practice up to 8 hours a day, they only ever do 40 minutes of practice in one sitting. Regular breaks are key to keeping yourself focus and stopping yourself from becoming mentally exhausted. It’s better to do a few short practice sessions every day than one large one.

Mistake 4: You’re practising pieces your Hammersmith piano teacher has already taught you

Practising pieces that your Hammersmith piano teacher has already taught you is like having a comfort blanket. If you’re playing music that you already know, what are you learning? It’s easy to keep playing the same thing once you’ve mastered a piece. Just like in your Hammersmith piano lessons, you want to be changing the pieces that you practice at home regularly

Mistake 5: Not revising pieces to maintain your repertoire

While practising the same pieces every day is a mistake, you still want to be regularly refreshing your memory. You should be regularly playing pieces that you’ve already learnt from your Hammersmith piano teacher. You want to be playing these pieces alongside new music that you’re experimenting with.
If you’re not regularly revising pieces that you know, it’s easy to start to forget them. Once a week, take some time to go back through your repertoire and practice the music you already know. You can think of it as ‘throwback Thursday’.

Mistake 6: Using the incorrect fingers during your piano lessons

One thing that your Hammersmith piano teacher will always correct you on is using the wrong fingers. You want to make sure you’re using the right fingers to establish muscle memory to give your music more stability. Using the correct fingers will make you more confident and comfortable playing in front of a group, as your music will be more cohesive.
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Mistake 7: Being quicker with easy passages than harder ones

Most students who attend Hammersmith piano lessons make the mistake of starting off too fast with a piece of music. This fact usually happens because they master the start of the piece first, making it easier. Students then end up slowing down as they reach a more difficult section. The varying tempo will show your Hammersmith piano teacher which sections you have not yet mastered. Whatever tempo you’re comfortable playing the hardest bit of a piece at is what you should play the entire piece in.

Mistake 8: You always start from the beginning

The chances are that your Hammersmith piano teacher has asked you to start a piece from somewhere other than the beginning. While we naturally play pieces from the beginning while performing, we shouldn’t practice them this way. If you always start with the beginning, you’ll become less confident as you reach the later parts of the music. Focus your practice sessions on the weaker parts of the music that you’re not as proficient with. If you master each part individually, you’ll become more consistent with your proficiency with a piece.

Mistake 9: You’re practising too fast

Slow and steady wins the race. You might want to play as fast as you can, but this is counteractive as it will make it take longer for you to learn the piece. Go slow and take mental notes during each section.

Mistake 10: Excessively looking at your hands

We know it’s tempting, but you want to avoid looking at your hands during your piano lessons in Hammersmith. If you look down at your hands, you’re more likely to make mistakes and internalise these. You want to focus your eyes on the sheet music. While it’s okay to occasionally look at your hands, they shouldn’t be what you’re exclusively focusing on. When you glance down at your hands, try and do it by looking down your nose instead of by moving your head.
You can start your piano lessons and learn the art of sight-reading in Hammersmith today by getting in touch with us at [email protected] or by calling us at 020 3745 2868. You can also book your lessons with a Hammersmith piano teacher directly through our online booking page.
We are open for both face-to-face and online appointments.