"Practice...How Long?"

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Dear Greg,
 ...Like yourself I have a profound love of music - pure and simple. ... Perhaps you could comment as to whether (in your professional opinion) - 1.5 to 2 hours of daily practice (all that I can possibly squeeze in) suffices to acquire sufficient technique in due time to play major piano repertoire. Thanks again for your time.
Best regards,
Devoted Practicer

Dear Devoted Practicer,

I apologize in advance; my answer is going to be very annoying. :-)

I have seen quite a number of pianists sail through Juilliard without putting in more than a couple hours of practice per week. I don’t know what they do during the day (academics, video games, friends, TV?), but come concert time, they walk on stage and play with unbelievable inspiration and accuracy.

There were also the pianists who would wake up every morning at the crack of dawn to snag the best practice rooms, and they would stay until the cleaning ladies kicked them out at closing time. To increase their concentration, these virtuosos would cover the windows and limit all social interaction to two 15-minute meals. It came as no surprise that they were also fantastic pianists.

Nobody is going to acquire the skills for Gaspard de la nuit over night; it takes years (upon years!) of experience before the act of playing the piano feels natural. Regardless (and the point is:), everyone has different practice room needs. Many people can handle the world’s most substantial repertoire on 1.5 – 2 hours of daily practice, but even more people would find this insufficient.

If you are already practicing as much as you have time for, why worry about it? Enjoy every minute that you spend at the piano. You may step back from it all in a few years and say, “Wow, just look at how I’ve improved!” It is VERY unlikely that 1.5 – 2 hours of daily practice would ever lead to the opposite.

Good luck!

- Greg