motor learning and sleep

Motor Learning and Sleep: Can Quality Sleep Enhance Piano Practice?

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Daily practice punctuated by weekly lessons are time-honored traditions when learning to play the piano or any other musical instrument. Recent findings in neuroscience regarding motor learning and sleep support the wisdom of these traditions. It also helps us to understand a common experience. This experience is as follows. We sit down to practice a […]

Einstein as an example of music lessons make him smarter

Music Lessons: Do They Make You Smarter?

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Do music lessons make you smarter? This question is misleading. It is easier to address this question by rephrasing it. Do music lessons improve cognition? The answer is a resounding yes! To elaborate, there are four basic parts of cognition.  They are: attention, memory, perception, and cognitive flexibly. Music lessons improve each one of these parts. The finding […]

Sculpture of the inner child

The Well-Tempered Piano Student: Free Your Inner Child

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Children can teach us an important lesson about the learning process. They do this by demonstrating the value of freeing our inner child. Typically, an adult piano student will spend fifty percent of their lesson time explaining how incompetent they are. On the other hand, when children encounter a difficulty they often giggle and laugh at themselves. Children […]

A man memorizing music by stuffing scores in his head

Memorizing Music: Is it Important?

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Historical Perspective A brief historical perspective of piano performance traditions is explored as this sheds light on the topic of memorizing music. Until the latter part of the nineteen century, it was in bad taste to perform from memory. It was disrespectful and showy. Mozart, for example, had an expansive musical memory yet always performed with the […]

Road sign that reads Reduce Speed Now which illustrates slow practice

Slow Practice: A Pianist’s Foundation

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One of our most important piano practice techniques is slow practice. In fact, it is our foundation. It is a useful tool for the beginner and the most seasoned virtuoso alike. To illustrate, in his book Speaking of Pianists, Abram Chasins describes a time he arrived for a lesson with Rachmaninov and overhead him practicing. Rachmaninov was practicing […]