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by Jonas Gößling

4 tips to master any song

Learning to play a song on the piano can be frustrating. It can take weeks and weeks of practice before any sign of progress! But with the right practice strategies, you can speed things up. Here are four essential tips to help you make progress faster and stay motivated.

1. Everything starts with a great song

Guy listening to music

A great song is the best motivation you can have when learning piano. Of course, you've got to know a few fundamentals before you start playing. For example, how to find the keys and to hold your hand. But don't spend more than a few days on your preparations! Choose a song and get started.

Choosing the right song is actually more difficult than it seems. It makes all the difference. If it is too easy, you’ll get bored, and if it‘s too hard you’ll get frustrated. Focus on finding an easy transcription of a song or classical pieces of music that you love. On flowkey, all songs that are suitable for beginners are marked with a green corner. Complete beginners should check out the First Steps section. There you'll find songs to introduce you to piano playing step-by-step. This way, you'll always find the song that matches your skills.

As a beginner, look for songs that

  • only have very few notes in the left hand (the f clef)
  • have no chords with more than three notes
  • don‘t involve a lot of hand jumps or very quick finger movements

It's important not only to listen to your chosen song, but to watch how it's played on a piano. And you'll need to see the score too! With these three things, you're ready to go.

2. Slice it up!

loop in sheet music

Once you've found a song, start breaking it down small sections of about 4-10 seconds. Why? While practicing the piano, your brain is running at full speed. It has to memorize new and complex hand movements, and there's a limit of how much it can store. Studies show that periods of 4-10 seconds are just the right length for your brain to focus on.

So instead of trying to learn the entire song at once, focus on learning one section a day. You can practice short sections with our loop function. Just mark the section you want to practice and then hit Play to work through it on repeat.

Your ideal learning routine should look like this:

  • Monday: Learn the first section
  • Tuesday: Learn the second section and play both sections together
  • Wednesday: Learn the third section and play all three sections together
  • Thursday: Learn the fourth section and play all four sections together and so on ...

With this method, you will master songs much faster. You'll also have little breakthroughs every day, which do wonders for your motivation!

3. Take a detour

Detour signs

Before you try to play with both hands, make sure you can play each hand separately. This is important because, as we just learnt, our brains can only learn so much in one go. When we're trying to learn a new piece, playing both hands at once is overwhelming for our brains. Chances are that you'll struggle to keep things coordinated!

Realize what your brain has to do when it is learning to play the piano:

  • Learn and memorize what the right hand has to do
  • Learn and memorize what the left hand has to do
  • Coordinate both hands at once

The trick is to work on each aspect of the piece separately. And this definitely applies for left hand and right hands parts. By clicking the hand symbols in the flowkey player, you can choose to practice the right hand, left hand or both hands together once you're feeling confident!

So let's define your learning routine a bit:

  • Monday: Learn the first section. Spend 5 minutes on the right hand, 5 minutes on the left hand and 5 minutes on both hands.
  • Tuesday: Learn the second section. Spend 5 minutes on the right hand, 5 minutes on the left hand and 5 minutes on both hands. Then, spend another 5 minutes on playing both sections together.
  • Wednesday: Learn the third section. Spend 5 minutes on the right hand, 5 minutes on the left hand and 5 minutes on both hands. Then, spend another 5 minutes on playing all three sections together.

If you've done the math, you'll see that we recommend 20 minutes of practice per day. Wondering whether this is enough? This brings us to our fourth tip…

4. Get a daily dose of practice

Calendar sheet

You'll get better results when you practice 20 minutes a day instead of two hours once a week. It's not how long you practice, but how often. So, two 20-minute sessions a week are actually a lot better than a single 40-minute session. And let's face it - it's much easier to sit down at the piano for just 20 minutes a day! Make piano practice a daily habit that you can look forward to. Practicing will get easier, and so will those pieces!

I hope these tips make your piano practice seem a little less daunting. In fact, you might be in the mood for some practice right now... Enjoy!