Piano Marvel Practice Tips for Beginners: Learn to Play the Piano Correctly

Piano MarvelI thought it would helpful for me to share some Piano Marvel practice tips for someone just starting out in the Piano Marvel app. These tips could also apply to any piano beginner.

Before you start playing in Piano Marvel, it’s important to learn the proper piano technique. There are some great tips at Piano Play It on how to sit at the piano correctly.

Important Technique Pointers

Relaxed Body: Keep your body, especially your arms and hands, relaxed. Doing that will create the best sound and also protect you from hurting yourself.

Piano Practice TipsBubble Hand: Make a bubble hand, where your hand is curved like it is holding a big bubble.

Curved Fingers:  One of the most important things that you have to remember is to curve your fingers properly. Your fingers have to build up strength, just like with any muscle, so it will take time and diligence. Your fingers should look like arches, and you should play on the pads (not tips) of your fingers. My very first piano teacher would remind me over and over again to curve my fingers. Even though at the time it was kind of annoying, I’m SO glad she was strict with me. After thirty years of playing the piano, my fingers are so strong that I rarely have to think about making sure my fingers are curved. I can play notes quickly and rhythms evenly because of my curved fingers.

Steady Wrists: Another common issue with beginners is having your wrists too high or too low; your wrists should be level with your hands, and try not to bounce them up and down.

Here are some examples of common technique mistakes:

Piano Practice Tips      Piano Practice Tips     Piano Practice Tips

Start with Piano Marvel Method 1A and try to go in order.  Watch the Lesson videos; they teach you everything you need to learn for each section. In a separate post I will explain more about a good piano practice routine.

How to Practice a Song (For Beginners)

Follow these steps before playing each song:

  1. Name each note
  2. Count and clap the rhythm for each hand
  3. If needed, play the song in the air with the correct fingers.
 Now you’re ready to start playing!
 
When you press the Space bar, Assess Mode will automatically begin. You will hear a countdown, “1, 2, set, go!”
 
Aim for a score of 100. Even if you get a 100, if you felt your performance was a little shaky then don’t be afraid to play it again. You’re ready to move on if you can play the correct notes and rhythm, with curved fingers and a relaxed body, with feeling and emotion, and it feels almost effortless because you know the song so well.
 
As you get to harder songs, particularly in Level 2 when you play hands together, you might find it hard to get the notes and rhythm correct. If you find yourself stumbling, stop using Assess Mode and switch to Prepare Mode. This allows you to play the correct notes without worrying about the rhythm. Once you get all the correct notes in Prepare Mode, you can switch back to Assess Mode.
Piano Marvel Practice Tips
Piano Marvel Level 2A

Learning the Names of the Notes

As you get further into Level 1, you’ll need to take the time to start memorizing the names of the notes.

Piano Marvel introduces new notes very gradually, so it will be easy to learn the names of the notes. I recommend using flashcards or a flashcard app to help you remember the note names. MusicTutor SightRead is a great Android app for both adults and kids.

I just learned a neat trick to learn the names of all the notes on the staff-with two friends named ACE and GBDF (say it fast so it sounds like “Jibbidy F”).  Look at this cool trick to learn the names of the other notes (read Method 1 for piano).  ACE likes to sit right in the middle of the grand staff, and GBDF likes to sit below and above ACE.  Eventually you will get so good that you won’t need any help from ACE and GBDF, but for now that is a great way to remember the names of the notes on the staff.

Piano Marvel Practice Routine

This is my idea of a good practice session:

Piano Marvel Beginner Practice Routine: Level 1

[Free printable assignment sheet]

  • Warm-up: 5-finger exercise 10 times
  • Review song: Choose any previous song to play
  • Method: 15 minutes
  • Theory: Complete the pages in the Method book (distributor link) that correspond with your Method songs; memorize note names using MusicTutor SightRead (Android), presets 1 & 2

Piano Marvel Beginner Practice Routine: Levels 2 & 3

[Free printable assignment sheet]

  • Warm-up: 5-finger exercise 10 times, or some variation (in Level 3, start warming up using the C major scale)
  • Review song: Choose any previous song to play
  • Method: 15 minutes
  • Technique (start on Level 1 after completing Method Level 1): 15 minutes
  • Library song: 15 minutes
  • SASR (Sight reading): 2 songs, full SASR once a week
  • Theory: Complete the pages in the Method book that correspond with your Method songs

Of course the time will increase as you get to harder songs. Don’t be tempted to skip around to different songs if you don’t pass a song off right away. A huge part of learning to play the piano (or any instrument) is repetition. If you don’t get it right the first time, try and try again.

Practice with the Minced or Chopped Settings

As you get to level 2, you might notice that it takes more time to pass off a song. I recommend using the “Minced” or “Chopped” settings. The brain will learn the song so much more quickly if you break it up into pieces. “Minced” means the song is broken up into very small pieces, sometimes with just one hand at a time. You will get a score for each “Minced” section, which is good motivation. It takes a lot of discipline to practice a song in small chunks, but believe me, this is the quickest and most effective way to learn a challenging piece.

If the song isn’t too challenging but you’re still finding it hard to score a 100, try the “Chopped” setting. The sections are a little bigger than “Minced”, about four measures instead of two. With either setting, once you complete all the parts, you will have passed off that song completely. Or if there are only one or two sections that you can’t seem to get, just use your mouse to highlight the trouble section and work on that. You won’t get a score, but Piano Marvel will show you which notes you played correctly or incorrectly.

Stay Motivated: Set a Goal

If you find yourself losing motivation to practice, make a goal.  In Piano Marvel, you can make a goal of a number of minutes to practice every month.
Piano Marvel Practice Tips
Keep in mind that it only tracks the minutes you hit “play” and the music is going, not actually how many minutes the program is open.  What I have done with my kids is set a required number of minutes they are sitting in front of the piano practicing.
 
You can join the Practice Challenge Clubs once you earn a certain number of practice minutes. You email jadicrawford@pianomarvel.com, and your name will be added to the Club Member List. You’ll also need to ask her for a copy of the list. If you’re doing this with your kids, you could print out a copy of the Club Member List every month and post it above the piano so they can see their names and be proud of all their hard work!
 
Piano Marvel Practice Tips
 
If you’ve made your practice goal, give yourself a treat or something extra special. Whatever goal you make, be realistic.  Also, write it down and tell a friend or your parent so you make yourself accountable.
 
For parents of younger children, you can give your child a sticker for each song passed off, and have them put it in the Table of Contents of their Method book.
If you’re using other books besides Piano Marvel, you can find several generic printable piano assignment practice sheets at susanparadis.com. You’ll also find tons of free games, flashcards, and teaching aids for kids.

Don’t Give Up!

Just remember, DON’T GIVE UP! Every time you feel frustrated or make a mistake, that just means your brain is learning and strengthening. Just like when you lift weights to strengthen your muscles, no pain no gain. When you get that 100 after working hard at it, you will have a great feeling of SUCCESS. Learning to play the piano is not easy, but it will be worth it! You’ll be smarter, have an outlet to express your emotions, and develop a lifelong hobby that you can share with others.

Happy practicing!


To learn more about Piano Marvel, take a look at my info page and Piano Marvel review & tour. If you haven’t signed up for Piano Marvel yet, click here. For a monthly premium account, you can get 20% off with my Piano Marvel promo code KATE. I receive a small commission if you sign up using my promo code.

2 thoughts on “Piano Marvel Practice Tips for Beginners: Learn to Play the Piano Correctly

  1. Thank you for the post! Very useful. I’m 27 and have always wanted to learn the piano. I’m in grad school, but have been postponing learning the piano for so long and I thought “it’s now or never!”. I started learning piano with Piano Marvel three weeks ago. I’m enjoying it so far. Cheers.

    • So glad it helped! Congrats on taking the time and effort to learn the piano! Let me know if you ever have any questions.

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