My students think it is sort of funny that I let them “cheat” in their music lessons. By “cheating,” I tell them I want them to use any resource available to learn their music properly while they are practicing. Learning correctly is more important than knowing everything before you start.
Now I am telling them that there are some “excuses” to bad playing that I am going to listen to! Here are some “excuses” that have actual merit.
- I can’t play quietly, only loud.
- I have to play that note extra times.
- My left hand is always louder than my right.
- I can’t play fast, only slow or medium.
- I can’t play repeated notes, give me something easier.
- I can’t use the pedal correctly.
- It hurts my ears to practice, so I don’t.
These “excuses” are really warning signs that many piano teachers and parents often dismiss as laziness. In reality what you need to do is to get someone over to inspect your instrument ASAP! Pianos that are out of tune are no fun to practice on, but also a piano that is needing a regulation can also stop responding correctly, no matter how hard you practice. I am amazed at how many piano owners and piano teachers are unaware of the signs that your instrument needs attention.
The piano technician‘s guild suggests a guideline of having a regulation done as often as every 3 to 5 years. I know I just got mine regulated and I can’t believe I was actually practicing on and teaching on such an unresponsive instrument. The problem is that it had gone out so gradually I hardly even noticed. Even I fell into the trap of thinking that if I just practiced more I could get those notes sounding quieter. Now I feel like I have a brand new piano and things are working so much easier.
By getting a qualified piano technician to work on your piano, you will not only be protecting your investment, but you will also solve the common practice excuses listed above. With my husband as a piano technician my student’s “excuses” should be short lived, but I will be listening for the warning signs and will help fix the REAL problem, which is NOT always the student!
- Piano quality and consumer technology regression (kottke.org)
- Remedies for a Shabby Piano (coppellpianoshop.wordpress.com)