Practice Hacks for Piano

Practice Hacks for Piano

Practice Hacks for Piano by Catherine Shefski

I’ve written a book! It’s a quick read for the Kindle and it’s available for download here on

Inside Practice Hacks for Piano you will find succinct advice on topics such as finding the proper hand position, playing octave passages, and creating a full range of dynamics, to interpreting and memorizing music — this little book has a nugget of useful information on every page, much of which has been down from teacher to student for over a century. Written in short and concise sections, intermediate and advanced piano students and their teachers will find helpful and practical advice for getting the most from every practice session.

This e-book includes tips on the following topics: Hand Position, Stretching, Scales, Chords, Octaves, Playing Fast, Dynamics, Fingers, Staccato and Legato, Memorizing Music, and Performance.

I’d love to hear what you think! And if you like what you see please leave a review at Amazon. I sincerely appreciate it!

Valentina Lisitsa Practicing

Over the past few days there’s been a buzz on my Twitter and Facebook pages about Valentina Lisitsa and the streaming video of her practice sessions.

I thought it kinda cute to let those of you who are curious – (or upsed at me not responding to messages on Youtube , Facebook etc LOL ) inside my practice studio.I am going to run live webcam for next 7 days-’till July 4th midnight to be exact. I will be working on my recital and concerto programs that I will have to perform next month. I have 55 pieces to work on!!!!!!

Seriously. Some of them I have to revive ( like Chopin Etudes or Brahms #2)more than half is absolutely brand new . I am going to practice as usual -@ 13-14 hours a day., from around 9-10AM EST to midnight. Nothing exciting otherwise:-)

If you have a chance I suggest you tune in at some point today. Great motivation to get you practicing!

Grasshopper Minds

Dr. Seymour Papert, mathematician and co-founder of MIT’s Media Lab, coined the term “Grasshopper Minds” almost ten years ago referring to the short attention spans and quick parallel processing of what we now call Gen Y, Gen 2.0, or the Millennials.

The following is from a paper, “Teaching Generation Y“, by Professor Susan Eisner of Ramapo College:

Having used technology throughout their lives, Gen Y operates both faster and differently than previous generations. Its video games accustom it to “twitch speed,” MTV (its favorite cable channel) accustoms it to processing 100 images per minute, and special effects films accustom it to ultra-rapid action. The result? Gen Y’ers are skilled at parallel processing. They are accustomed to randomly accessed information, instead of linear thinking…. Achievement and winning are important. Experiences without obvious payoffs are frustrating (2003)….Gen Y has a populist sense that anyone can be a star, and feels that there is no one right answer. Gen Y-ers tend to naturally challenge what is being said, and have a “prove it to me mentality.”

How has this new generation affected the way the old generation of piano teachers teach? Many have updated but simply incorporating Music Ace and midi technology in the music studio doesn’t seem to be the answer.  And we definitely don’t need more Czerny exercises. Telling a student to simply practice is like speaking to them in a foreign language. However, today I discovered that Philip Johnston, of has some timely advice in his book Practice Revolution.