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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Veber

Practising when you are Time Poor.

Updated: Apr 16, 2022

Target audience: beginners - lower intermediate learners, adult learners

Have you ever thought 'I don't have time to practise today?'. One thing that really holds students back is lack of practice. Many people make the mistake of thinking that every practice session they sit down to should be significant in time, i.e. more than just a few minutes.

I believe that this is wrong! Progress can still be achieved with short, frequent practice sessions if you are time poor for longer practice sessions each day.

Of course ideally you would fit in more significant practice sessions a few times a week, not just rely on a few minutes each or every other day. However we all have those days or even weeks where we just cannot find time and the idea of sitting down for a 20 minute, 30 minute or longer session seems unachievable.

It is for those times that I have created this quick practice schedule that can be completed in 5 - 10 minutes! I'm sure that we can all find just 10 minutes in our day to sit down and play.


1. Begin with a couple of scales, simple ones, just to get your fingers moving. (Approximately 30 seconds - 1 minute)

2. Choose a piece that you love playing and start with that. (Approximately 1 - 2 minutes)

3. Next, go to a piece that is new or you are working on currently. Go to a part that is particularly tricky or that needs a bit of extra work and play only that part a few times. Maybe 5 times. Play slowly, look carefully at the notes and fingering and think consciously about every move your fingers make. (Approximately 3 - 4 minutes).

4. ***Finish on a high - find another song that you love to play or you can play from start to finish and play that and, most importantly enjoy it! (Approximately 1 - 2 minutes).

4.2 *** Alternatively, you could spend another few minutes on that problem section in your piece!

Total time: approximately 10 minutes


Important things to remember:

- The most important thing about playing an instrument is that you enjoy it. That is why above I've included two times when you get to choose a piece that you love to play in the session.

- Doing a quick warm up to switch onto playing piano rather than, say, typing away at a keyboard will help your brain to shift gears and move into piano playing mode. It also helps your fingers to get ready to play other pieces. If you were doing a longer practice I would suggest doing more scales to warm up properly.

- When working on a new piece or parts of a piece that are tricky, it's important to remember that breaking it down into small chunks works much better than trying to play the whole thing all at once and hoping for the best. You will have forgotten what you worked on at the beginning of the piece by the time you get to the end. It is much more effective if you work on small sections and play slowly, really taking in everything that your hands are doing and that your eyes are reading including.

Try this out next time you feel as if you don't have any time to spare for practice and see how you feel after.

- Stephanie, South Side Piano

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