Get the best out of your piano playing: The ideal practice routine revealed

The ideal piano practice routine can vary greatly from person to person depending on various factors such as your experience level, available time and personal preferences. The piano advisers at Pianos Maene put together an ideal piano practice routine.


Remember that everyone is unique, so it is important to develop a practice routine that suits you and your goals. So feel free to experiment with these tips and adjust your routine as you gain more experience and your goals change.

Piano ideale oefenroutine
Piano warm-up


Playing the piano is a sport. A sport? Yes! We pianists too need to warm up before we start our 'workout'. Our muscles need to get warm. Not just your finger muscles, but your whole body. Start with some movement exercises to warm up your body, you certainly don't need to do a full workout, 2 minutes of movement is enough.

After that, though, you can move on to specific finger exercises. These exercises will warm up your fingers, familiarise you with the keyboard and practice and maintain your technical skills. Hanon, The virtuoso pianist, and Czerny, One hundred progressive studies, have interesting books of finger exercises. Finger exercises include scales and arpeggios. Integrate these into your warm-up session.

Piano practice scales

Start slowly with the finger exercises, scales and arpeggios. It is much more important that you play the correct notes first, rather than moving forward like a speeding train, making mistakes. Your brain must be able to conceive and store the finger movements. If you are doing well, you can also add a metronome. This way, you can improve your finger speed and rhythmic coordination.

Also, put your focus on relaxing your shoulders, elbows and wrists so you can play in a comfortable position.

Play piano repertoire

Play repertoire

Your goals have been noted? You can start your practice session and work on your repertoire you want to learn or improve. How do you study in a focused way now?

There is no point in playing through your pieces ten times, however tempting it can sometimes be. Pick out difficult passages. Play these slowly, possibly with left and right hands separately, and repeat a few times. From when it is well in your fingers and you have no doubts, you can speed up your tempo.

A good tip for improving your musical repertoire is to use a creative practice method. Creative piano practice is a wonderful way to improve your musical skills and enjoy yourself while studying. It goes beyond simply playing the notes as they appear on paper.

Piano rythm practice

For example, start by exploring different rhythms. Reverse the rhythms of your right hand. Short-long rythms played long-short and vice versa. You can do the same for your left hand. This is not always very easy, but it certainly helps! In this way you get more control over the notes and what your fingers are doing. You become more aware of what you are playing.

Adjusting tempos can also add an exciting dimension to your practice sessions. Try playing at a slower tempo to emphasise the emotion of a piece and then switch to a faster tempo to improve your technical skills. Practising with different tempos can challenge yourself, teach your piece very thoroughly and keep your concentration sharp.

Video recording piano

You can do the same with the dynamics and articulation of the music. Play loud passages softly and soft passages loudly, play staccato notes legato and legato lines staccato... Let your creativity run wild!

Sometimes it is also interesting, when you can already play through a piece well, to record yourself using your smartphone or tablet. What you may not have noticed while playing suddenly becomes clear when you listen to the recording. The piano playing sometimes even seems to sound different from what you have in your head. This is a valuable exercise as it allows you to discover subtleties and nuances in your playing that you would otherwise miss. It helps you improve yourself and take your piano music to the next level.

Piano sightreading

Sight reading

You can also alternate your repertoire with sight-reading some music in between. This takes you out of study mode for a while, but still keeps you engaged with music.

What is sight-reading and what is it good for? Piano sight-reading is a great way to improve your musical skills. You take a score of a piece you don't know yet and immediately try to play it with both hands. Try to play through at one tempo and skip difficult items or chords.

The more often you do this, the better it will go and the faster you will be able to learn new scores. Take care, however, to start with simple pieces so that you do play the piece, that way you will learn the most!

Piano import

Piano improvisation

After your intensive study session, it's time to let off some steam! Improvisation is the perfect tool for this! Improvisation is the spontaneous creation of music without following sheet music. You can improvise in a particular style of music or you can also opt for free improvisation. It is fun, stimulates your creativity and provides room for self-expression.

During a practice session, it is important to rest your muscles, walk around for a while or go get a glass of water. This will keep your focus sharp when you do study and prevent fatigue.

After your practice session, take some time to reflect. This self-assessment will help you discover what went well and where improvement is needed, allowing you to set specific goals and measure your progress. You can be proud of what you achieved this practice session!

One last tip, never apply the same exercise routine more than two or three days in a row, add enough variety to keep your exercise session exciting and interesting. Have fun practising!