As many of my friends and family know, I love to play the piano. On Sunday’s, I’m often called in to local churches to play for their worship team if their regular pianist is unavailable. I don’t do this for money, I do it for the joy of giving back to my community. There are always ways for me to improve so I went on a hunt for tips on how to become a better pianist. For all you pianists out there, I hope you find this advice as useful as I did!

Know your place

This is a great tip for any traveling pianist. Be cognizant of how you play based on the team you’re playing alongside. If you’re the only instrument, play louder and with more complexity. If you’re part of a large worship team, simplify your playing so you don’t dominate over the other instruments.

Don’t teach yourself

Sure, teaching yourself to play piano can feel like a major accomplishment, but what they don’t tell you about teaching yourself is you’re also picking up bad habits. These bad habits can lead to injury in the most serious of cases. Take lessons so you can learn to avoid these mistakes.

Practice most days

For myself, I noticed a lot of the same songs are being played in churches in the same denomination. It’s good to practice these familiar songs so when Sunday comes, they’re easier to play. However, don’t just stick to what you know. Practice sight reading so you can accommodate your playing for all different kinds of songs.

Work on music you like

I don’t always have the option to choose what I’ll be playing on any given Sunday, but I like this idea of playing what I like. I think playing a large diversity of songs is helpful in making me a better pianist, but I don’t want to dwell on the songs I don’t like.

Focus on the fundamentals

A Canadian writer, Robin Sharma, once said “Success lies in a masterful consistency around the fundamentals” and I don’t think that could reign anymore true when it comes to playing the piano. If you ever get stuck on a chord or a particular sequence, go back to the fundamentals to help you over the hurdle.