If you’re learning to play piano on your own, you might be wondering how many pieces you should be practicing at once.
You might think the best way is to master a single piece at a time, so you can really focus on getting it right. I’m going to propose that you spread your efforts around a bit more, and I’ll tell you why!
Should I only learn one piece at a time on piano?
No! I mean, if you really want to, you can. But, after you read my reasoning, I think you’ll change your mind.
Learning to play one piece at a time is limiting.
It limits your learning opportunities.
Learning just the one piece limits your exposure to different tempos, and note ranges, and keys, and rhythms, and dynamic shading.
It also limits your practice to just one challenge with no break: if the piece is a little easy you’re not being challenged, if the piece is a little hard you’re not getting a chance to relax while you practice.
If the piece is very long or quite challenging, you won’t get a chance to start another piece for quite a long time.
How many pieces should I be working on?
The amount of time you have available for practice will make a difference to this answer. Generally, if you have at least 30 minutes per day, I’d suggest working on 3 pieces.
You don’t have to practice each piece for the same length of time each day. You can rotate through pieces giving one of them the most practice while just working on spots on the others or giving them a short practice session.
My best recommendation is to work on 2 or 3 pieces that are comfortable for you to learn in a short time, maybe a week or two at most. Also have a more challenging piece to work on, something that might take you a month or more to complete. And also have a book at hand, or an online playing resource, where you can play new music that’s simple and readable at sight.
Cycling back is also very important!
Cycling back over past pieces is a valuable way to keep your skills sharp. Not only does it help you remember those older pieces, but it also lets you revisit them with more experience under your belt.
This is an awesome opportunity for growth!
You may have done the best you could on a piece when you first learned it, but now that you have better control and understanding, you’ll add musical details and nuances that you simply couldn’t understand or implement before. So, keep a running list of favorite pieces as you learn them and be sure to play through them on a monthly cycle. (These make excellent pieces to memorize or perform for friends!)
Learning a variety of music will advance your piano learning faster.
I’m certain that if you follow these tips you’ll have more enjoyable practice experience and make faster progress as well!
- Practice 2 or 3 pieces that you can learn in a short amount of time
- Practice 1 challenging piece that might take 3 or 4 times longer to learn than a normal piece
- Sight read simple music every practice
- Cycle back and practice favorites on a regular basis.