It’s well documented that practice is one of the best ways to improve your proficiency in a particular skill. However, practicing from the comfort of your home isn’t always possible. If you have an upcoming trip, you might be wondering how you can practice piano during your travels.
Here are 8 tips on how to practice piano while traveling:
- Get a travel-sized piano.
- Play on public pianos.
- Immerse yourself in piano music.
- Identify an area of focus.
- Practice your fundamentals.
- Practice your dexterity.
- Book a performance.
- Take a break.
Although it might seem impossible to practice piano while on a trip, with a little extra effort, you can integrate some practice into your travels with little to no disruption to your itinerary. The rest of this article will tell you everything you need to know about travel-friendly piano practice, so you can maintain your skill without compromising your vacation plans.
1. Get a Travel-Sized Piano
One of the best investments for anyone looking to train while on the road is a travel-sized piano. Although 88-key pianos are the norm, it’s perfectly possible to get a piano that’s a fraction of the size but functional enough to satisfy your needs.
Travel pianos are designed to be travel-sized, meaning that they’re a lot smaller than regular pianos. While convenience and portability are attractive benefits, a lot of the features have to be stripped to maintain the piano’s small size.
Travel-sized pianos are all relatively small, but they do come in a variety of sizes. The size and weight of the keyboard essentially determine the ease of transport. The smaller the keyboard, the easier it is to travel with.
You should also keep airline policies in mind when selecting a traveling piano that’s right for you. If your flight doesn’t allow luggage over a certain size, you should try to keep the piano beneath that size to avoid problems.
Another thing to consider in your search for a traveling piano is how you want the keys to feel. If you’re used to acoustic pianos, it might be better to get weighted keys to give your fingers a familiar feeling and keep your practice as true to the real thing as possible. However, weighted keys do increase the overall weight of the keyboard.
You should also note that travel pianos are made smaller by cutting down the total number of keys. As a result, you might find yourself limited by these cutbacks. While it’s something you have to get used to, it’s a relatively easy thing to get acclimated to with time.
Now, let’s discuss some of the best travel pianos (products are available on Amazon.com).
The Blackstar Carry-On Folding Piano is on this list for its excellent portability features. Traveling light is a priority for many people, which is possible with this piano because it has the ability to fold up to half its size.
Although convenience is this piano’s selling point, it has its fair share of additional features. With a rechargeable battery and 8 hours of playtime per charge, you can worry less about powering your device and more about your practice.
If you don’t mind something even less conventional than a normal travel-sized keyboard, then a roll-up keyboard like the Lujex Roll Up Piano might be right up your alley.
Roll-up pianos take the idea of portability to a whole other level. The Lujex Roll Up is made of lightweight silicone, which allows you to roll it up and pack it away when it’s not in use. Its increased portability also gives it room for more keys. The Lujex delivers on this front even more than the folding piano, offering 61-key and 88-key variants.
However, this keyboard’s sound quality isn’t as high as traditional travel pianos. But if portability is a higher priority than sound, this product will certainly make a great travel companion.
The YAMAHA YPT360 61-Key Touch-Sensitive Portable Keyboard is one of the best travel keyboards because it gives you relative portability as well as a high-quality sound. While this product isn’t as portable as the other travel pianos we’ve discussed so far, it makes up for this with incredible sound.
In addition to convenience and quality audio, it also has touch-sensitive keys, a suite of voice and accompaniment features, and allows for MIDI transfer. The abundance of offered features certainly makes this piano worth the larger size. However, you should still keep airline restrictions in mind before buying a traveling piano so you make the right purchase for your travels.
2. Use Public Pianos
Getting a travel-sized piano isn’t always feasible, and it might be tricky to carry one around with you on your vacation. Airport requirements also provide a fair amount of restrictions that can make it challenging to bring a travel keyboard on your trip.
If you can’t bring a traveling piano with you, this doesn’t mean that you should give up on your practice plans. Depending on where you travel, you might be able to find a public piano to use instead.
Your airport or train station might have one close by, and if not, there’s usually one within accessible distance. An easy way to find one is to use an aggregator to locate it. There are quite a few online, but Pianos.pub has one of the best selections and a user-friendly interface.
Using a public piano is an experience that every pianist should take advantage of. Because these pianos are in a public space, the dynamic is a lot different from playing privately.
Practicing on public pianos is a great way to get used to playing for an audience. Even if you don’t plan to regularly play in public, playing for an audience can improve your confidence. Confidence is key if you want to become a better player.
Using public pianos is also a great way to meet other pianists from varying genres, and it might just be the launchpad you need for a creative breakthrough. This video from Henri Herbert is a great example:
3. Immerse Yourself in Piano Music
Traveling can be stressful, and it isn’t always easy (or possible) to bring your own piano or find a public one to practice on. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t work on your skills in other ways.
If you don’t have a piano to practice with, one of the best alternatives is to immerse yourself in piano music as much as possible. Rather than dwelling on the fact that you don’t have a physical piano to practice with, do things that’ll make you feel close to the type of music you want to make. There are quite a few good ways to do this.
Listen To Music
Listening to music from composers you love is one of the best ways to get your musical juices flowing. By listening to as much piano music as you can, you might find yourself artistically inspired by new or familiar artists.
Listening to music can also have a calming effect, and during a potentially stressful journey, the benefits of this are endless.
Watch Piano-Playing Videos Online
If you learn better from visual examples as opposed to audible ones, then you might find it helpful to watch a few YouTube videos about the piano.
There are countless videos about techniques, performances, and song tutorials. This platform is a great way to quickly access an abundance of piano-related information that can be just as beneficial as practicing.
Study Piano Sheet Music
Another way to “practice” is to study sheet music, which you can accomplish without a public or travel piano. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with new songs or songs that you’ve already been practicing. Packing sheet music with you before you embark on your vacation is a great way to ensure that you absorb as much piano-related information as possible while on your trip.
Join an Online Piano Community
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in piano music is to join online piano communities. Reddit’s r/piano and the Virtual Piano website are a haven for thousands of piano enthusiasts having conversations about piano playing, music theory, and various other subjects.
Joining online piano discussions is an easy way to surround yourself with piano-playing while you’re traveling.
4. Identify an Area of Focus
Regardless of whether or not you have access to a piano, an excellent way to practice while on your trip is to identify an area of focus.
Because vacations give you a break from your busy schedule, going on a trip can give you the time you need to strengthen your skills in a particular area that you’re not so proud of. The area you focus on depends exclusively on you and what you think you’re lacking.
Sight-reading is an excellent example of an area that you might want to focus on.
Simultaneously reading and playing unfamiliar sheet music is a skill that every pianist should have. Regardless of your favorite genre, reading and playing a piece on command is a highly sought-after talent that’s necessary for playing professionally. The only way to get better at sight-reading is to practice.
No matter how good you are, you’ll make mistakes. Understanding this is one of the first steps to getting better. When you play, try to prioritize getting through the entire piece instead of focusing on your mistakes. Once you can play through the piece with relative competence, you can go back and work out the kinks.
5. Practice Your Fundamentals
Whether you’re a veteran pianist or a novice, an excellent practice tip is to go back to the basics. Regardless of how far you’ve come, understanding that every skill is simply a variation or combination of the fundamentals is a great way to deepen your understanding of piano-playing as a whole.
Going on a trip is the perfect time to practice your fundamentals. You might find yourself in a laid-back environment that can make the act of practicing the basics seem a lot more enticing than it would at home.
6. Practice Your Dexterity
It’s essential to improve or maintain your dexterity on the piano to keep your skills sharp, especially if you’re on the road.
Practicing your scales and arpeggios will improve your strength, rhythm, and dexterity if you have a travel keyboard. You can also do the Hanon exercises, which are more challenging but greatly rewarding.
Alternatively, visualizing the keys on a flat surface can be good practice if you don’t have a piano handy.
7. Book a Performance
Booking gigs for yourself can be a good learning experience and give you more confidence in yourself and your piano skills. Lounges and restaurants are always great venues for live performances. Some airports allow live music, so that can be an option if you have some time to kill before your flight.
If you have a travel keyboard, you can play in public spaces that would allow you to practice playing for an audience. Another alternative option is to use streaming sites like YouTube or Twitch to stream yourself playing live for a virtual audience. Live streaming is a great way to build your community and online presence.
8. Take a Break
Sometimes resting is the best “practice,” as it’s also a tool to become a better player. If you’ve been practicing non-stop for a while now, perhaps this trip might be the best time to take a break.
Research suggests that resting is essential to learning. Consolidation is how your mind makes memories stable, and it’s greatly improved by getting adequate rest. Furthermore, resting eases tiredness and makes it easier for your mind to learn new things.
Traveling doesn’t have to signify the end of your piano practice. If you want to practice the piano on your trip, try investing in a travel keyboard, utilizing public instruments, and immersing yourself in as much piano music as possible.
By following these tips, you can make the most of your vacation while simultaneously improving your musical skills.
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