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31368 Via Colinas #102

Westlake Village, CA 91362

Five Tips to Improve Your Piano Performance

Whether you are a  beginner or advanced pianist, the following tips and hacks will improve your performance!

— November 25th, 2020

1. Pedalling

It can be a major issue, especially if you get nervous when performing. You can work hard with your fingers, playing beautifully, only to hide under the pedal cloud. 

Thus, when in doubt, stay away from the sustaining pedal; try practicing your piece completely without the pedal. And, once confident with the sound, add smaller amounts of sustaining pedal for a cleaner performance.

2. Legato

The knock-on effect of a heavy right foot, that is, the sustaining pedal can lack smooth, legato playing.

You may be pleasantly surprised by the sound of the fingers alone once legato has been achieved. If you have already learned your piece, go through it without any pedal, checking you have used adequate legato fingering, creating a smooth contour, which is usually vital in melodic material.

3. Tempo

Beginning and ending in the same tempo can be an issue for some, which ties in with the problematic matter of thinking before you start playing.

Once seated to play, resist the urge to start at once. Instead, please take a few seconds to think; this will not only provide time to collect your thoughts, but it will also allow space to set a speed which is both comfortable and realistic.

To be sure about your pulse, count two full bars before playing – think of it as an introduction! Feeling the pulse religiously can also be helpful and can stem the compulsion to rush or slow down.

4. Body movement

As many know, too much movement – whether nodding of the head, exaggerated arm movements, or swaying around on the stool – can be detrimental and distracting.

However, even more, debilitating is not to move at all. The rigidity can be the cause of a harsh sound and wrong notes. 

To play in a relaxed manner, it’s important to develop freedom in body movement and cultivate a relaxed stance at the keyboard.

5. Staying close to the keys

It might seem contradictory after reading tip number four, but a good plan is to keep fingers close to the keys as much as possible, even if body movement is considerable.

Whilst wrists and arms must be flexible and able to shift around if necessary, fingers and hands are best kept hovering over the keys ready for action; this may sound obvious, but many don’t adhere to it.


This article is a re-post, with small modifications, of “Five tips for instantly improving your piano performance,” an article by Melanie Spanswick published on musiceducation.global

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