10 Things to Know Before You Begin a Piece

When a student first starts learning a new piece, I always ask the same question: “What can you tell me about this piece?” It’s a simple question, but an important one. Before you even put your hands on the piano, there’s a lot you can learn about a song.

Seriously. Figure it out beforehand. So this won’t happen.

1) Who wrote this piece?
2) When did they write it?
3) What is the tempo?
4) What is the time signature?
5) What is the key signature?
6) What dynamic markings stand out?
7) What articulations do you see?
8) What is the form?
9) Do you see any markings that you don’t recognize?
10) Do you see any tough rhythms or notes to figure out before you begin?

When you know the answers to all of these questions, you’re ready to begin your practicing!