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Practical (Instrumental Studies)

What would a student expect to learn during instrumental studies?

We have talked a bit about theory in the earlier (video) clip. Right now, we move to the second component in music studies, which is practical or instrumental studies.

Here, it broken up into two parts. The first being technical studies. What exactly are technical studies? Basically, they are finger drills and finger exercises that is meant to improve the performer's technique.

There are technical studies for all music students irrespective of whichever instrument you are learning. For the piano, as soon as you begin lessons, within the first few months, you will be introduced to a book that will contain scales, broken chords and arpeggios. These are your elementary technical studies that you begin with, and it is something that you will practice continuously all the way through.

Other than the book on scales, arpeggios and broken chords, there are many other publications featuring finger drills and finger exercises. One of the most popular the world over for piano students would be The Complete Hanon.

In that book, you will find melodic patterns using major and minor scales played up and down the entire keyboard, which helps the student develop agility, finger strength and of course, overall technical improvement.

Piano studies and Etudes are a great source to have students understand how scales are being used in a composition. In these works, you have scale-wise passages performed on the right hand with a basic accompaniment on the left hand. It relates chords to scale notes which helps also with acquiring musicality.


There is a wide range of repertoire to learn. Of course, every teacher based on his or her teaching syllabus, will prescribe different publications covering different types of repertoire.

What I am going to offer is just a very basic guideline of repertoire to learn. Obviously, to know music well, you have to learn an array of different styles and different genres. Therefore, I would recommend learning classical repertoire all the way across to contemporary repertoire.

A mixed array of repertoire would be ideal for the young student. Learning classical works all the way to all the modern music that we have today would broaden the scope and understanding of music of the student.

Of course, repertoire from the various eras and genres of music would help us understand different ways which music is composed, arranged and performed. It is essential for the music student to learn a variety of musical styles and genres across the board, because each different styles would require a different interpretation and a different way of playing it.

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