How to motivate yourself to practice your technique : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

I have a problem, I really want to be a concert pianist, but every time I practice my technique (Hanon, Czerny) I almost fall asleep. And after that, when I play my other pieces, Iīm so demotivated that I canīt practice the hard sections in the piece. And what is worst of all, my playing gets very boring, I canīt put anything from myself in the music. Please help me!!!

-- SR (, August 29, 2002


I hate to say the obvious, but . . .

Don't practice Hanon and Czerny if they have that effect on you!

Instead for technique improvement, try making exercises out of various bits taken from the hard parts of real pieces. For instance take 5 16th notes. Play them as written with the right fingering. Then transpose them up a 1/2 step (keep the same fingering although it's now probably quite awkward).

Transpose it up 1/2 step again, and continue until you have taken it all the way through the chromatic scale, or you start to get bored, whichever happens first.

We all know that it takes a certain amount of repetition and, frankly, boredom--or shall we say, "patience"--to learn to play anything on the piano well. But, on the other hand, it really, really, is NOT a good idea to keep on droning onwards when you are bored out of your gourd and just "droning" the same thing over and over.

In your practice, establish many small goals that might take 30 seconds to 2 minutes to achieve. Once you have achieved that goal (which might be as small as, for instance, playing 8 16th-notes in a passage with perfect evenness, two times in a row perfectly), then you move on to the next, similarly small goal.

That way there is never boredom with doing the same thing over and over too many times. There is always a feeling of forward progress because you are "achieving" many small goals in any practice period. So there is attention to detail and improvement of technique, but not boredom.

That is the goal!

Another idea, is instead of practicing hanon/czerny, or whatever technical exercises you are assigned or feel necessary, for 45 minutes (or whatever) at the start of your practice period, how about doing them for two minutes every here and there in between practicing "real music". Just when you're getting tired & frustrated with your "real music", take a short break with some kind of exercise. When you get bored with that (which, if it's a repetitious exercise, will happen very soon if you're a normal human being), then switch back the the 'real music' and you'll probably find yourself invigorated rather than annoyed.

In the course of 4 or 5 hours of practice, you've still done 45 minutes of "exercises", but they have been divided up into 15 or 20, 2- to 3-minute chunks rather than one 45-minute chunk.


-- Brent Hugh (, September 04, 2002.

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