For Students: Practice Tips for Developing Artistry in Piano Performance

Practicing is an art and a science

Practicing is an art and a science

Practicing is both an art and a science. Every student of piano performance must remember that their achievement on the instrument will be the direct result of the amount of time and the quality of their practicing.

The art and science of practicing is not just time spent at the instrument but time spent listening to the music the student is working on, watching and listening to other accomplished pianists, studying and understanding the harmonic analysis of the music as well as researching the time period and technical characteristics of the composer of the piece you are working on.  Additionally, studying Urtext or original editions will also play a key component towards understanding the composers intent as well.

In addition to this, it is advisable for the student to prepare a weekly plan outlining the time spent on specific techniques, repertoire, sight-reading and review of old or previously learned repertoire.


The purpose of technique is to serve the pianist’s imagination and realize his/her interpretive ideas on the instrument. The pianist should be able to have complete control of their fingers. In order to achieve this we have to train them so they will do whatever we want them to do to serve the pianists imagination. Technique and interpretation are interwoven.


Just as technique and interpretation are interwoven, reading musical scores and listening to music are equally important and interwoven. The art of listening to one’s own playing can be acquired first by listening to other pianists. Piano students need to learn to listen to other performances on a deeper level, following musical ideas and subtle nuances which the student may or may not incorporate in their own performances.

Music Theory

Just as technique and interpretation are interwoven and listening and reading are interwoven, understanding music scientifically or music theory and memorization are deeply interwoven. The human mind can best retain things it understands, things that ‘make sense’. If we understand something musically, understand the musical structure of the piece the student is well on the way to memorizing and a solid performance. With this being accomplished the pianist is then able to use their technique to serve their imagination and deliver an inspired performance.

In upcoming posts, I will explore innovative ways of using the repertoire you are currently working on to create short yet very efficient exercises which will achieve more in less time and explore some differences in various editions of your repertoire.  Until next time: Happy Productive, Inspired Conscious Practicing!

AUTHOR: Jamila Sahar – Click Here for Jamila’s bio



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One Response to For Students: Practice Tips for Developing Artistry in Piano Performance

  1. Hi Jamila,
    Thank you for this information. I came across your page while exploring ideas of setting up a music school in the caribbean. I have a few things working on presently before i actually break ground with the project. One of the major areas in completing my studies in Music Ed at OSU.
    Thank you for what I have read so far. I will continue to read and be inspired and encouraged by your work, I also have a daughter named Jamila who is a Voice major at MI in California. I look forward to hearing back from you.

    Thank you
    William James

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