Level 1 (Basic) Play it 5 times
Level 2 (Solid) Play it 5 times correctly
Level 3 (Pro) Play it 3 times correctly in a row
Level 4 (Elite) Play it 5 times correctly in a row (with the metronome)
Level 5 (Xtreme) Play it 7 times correctly in a row
Level 6 (Beat the Boss) Play it 10 times correctly in a row
If you are really dedicated probably you try to reach Level 5 or Level 6 with every single lesson. Good. But playing something 10 times can be really boring, unless you try to add feelings, emotions to it. Make it sound beautiful, make it sound like music.
Well, always be aware of your touch, aware of the sound you create.
Play soft or hard, connect the notes smoothly (legato) or play them short and sharp (staccato),
try to use pedal, play it like a ballad,
or play it fast, slow down the ending (ritardando), play around with the dynamics (crescendo, diminuendo), etc.
Try to find your own sound. This is the most important, this is why you are here. Playing the right notes is not enough.
What it comes to improvisation:
Level 1 (Basic) Improvise 5 minutes every day
Level 2 (Solid) Improvise 10 minutes every day
Level 3 (Pro) Improvise 10 minutes every day (don’t stop, don’t loose the groove in your left hand)
Level 4 (Elite) Improvise 15 minutes every day (play with a metronome. Clicks on every beat: 1, 2, 3, 4)
Level 5 (Xtreme) Improvise 30 minutes every day (play with a metronome. Clicks on 2 and 4)
When you are working with a lesson that is about improvisation, first of all, follow the given rules. Maybe I am asking you to improvise only with five notes, or just using half notes, etc. Why? I want you to have control over your improvisation. I want you to be able to give out a signal to your fingers, telling them “now play this”
and your fingers will move to the right place at the right time 🙂
When you are able to do that, forget everything for a while and let yourself to discover the piano. Let yourself to make mistakes. Don’t panic just continue playing. Have fun. Don’t be critical, but be conscious about what is happening. Sometimes it is very important to stop and make a little observation:
“Ok, this note sounded really strange. Hmm, maybe I should avoid it the next time.”
“Ok, this note sounded a little bit strange for the first time, but actually…I start to like it now”
Don’t worry too much about the theory, at least not when you trying to have fun and express yourself at the piano.