Have you ever recorded your own piano playing? Does it come out the way you expect it to? I thought so. The first time I heard my own recorded playing, the first thing that came to mind was how come it sounds so emotionless? (And I’m still working on that!) Here are some ways to improve your piano playing.
Record your Piano Playing (and watch it afterwards)
Record your playing with an audio recorder, camera or camcorder. It would be better if it’s caught on video because you can also observe the way you play. You’ll be surprised. I had to scrap many of my recorded videos because there are parts where I played a note too loudly or sped up in exciting parts of the song. Often, I had to record at least 5 or 6 times before I choose the best one. The good thing is after each performance, I would learn to play it a bit better, and it can only get better after that. 🙂
Listen to the Song Carefully
If you’re improvising or arranging a pop song, listen to the original song carefully. You’ll notice some parts are soft, others are loud, and in between the 2, there is likely a crescendo. 99% of the pop song sheet music books that I bought do not include dynamics in the songs, so it’s important to know how the song originally sounds like to play it well.
Catch the Mood from the Lyrics
Understanding the lyrics and singing along with the song will help you understand the mood of the song. Thereby, you can play with more emotion on the piano. This also goes hand in hand with the dynamics.
Again, dynamics. It’s a relative thing. If the song starts out loud, most likely another part of the song will be soft. So, if you initially played moderately loud ( mƒ ), then the softer part might be piano ( p ). Likewise, if you started off as super loud ( ƒƒ ), then the softer part maybe ( mp ).