Looking for a challenge to ignite your passion for piano this year? Look no further! At the turn of the new year, it’s not uncommon for many of us to look towards the future and what we want to try to achieve from the year ahead. When it comes to piano, setting these kinds of goals and achievements can be a little more difficult as there is so much possibility to explore.
Today, we are hoping this list of our top 5 challenges to try in 2023 gives you some fun and aspirational goals to reach this year. From easy progressions to improve your playing to incredibly difficult ones that will leave you scratching your head, we’re sure there’s something for everyone to challenge themselves to achieve!
Challenge 1: Learn An Entire Anthology
Straight out of the gates, we’re going in with a great big goal that can easily fill the entire year, maybe even two. Ever since we launched our new sheet music selection of hand curated titles, the absolute shining star of them has been the Faber Anthology Collections. With over 13 different themes, collections and titles to complete, there truly is something to scratch every musical itch.
For those just getting started on their piano journey, if you have mastered the basics of music theory, we’d recommend giving the Easy Piano Anthology a try (perfectly suited to those who play around a grade 2-3 standard), for those looking for either a slightly more difficult challenge or to explore a genre of music that you’ve not overly explored before, why not try your hand at either:
The Piano Music Anthology (Perfect for classical fans)
The Jazz Piano Anthology (Perfect for those looking to expand their playing into jazz)
The Soundtracks Piano Anthology (Perfect for those looking for iconic modern film scores)
Each of these anthologies has around 30-40 pieces in, so even learning 2 compositions in full a month, that is more than enough to fill up an entire year!
Challenge 2: Learn How To Improvise
Often regarded as one of the most aspirational skills in piano playing, the ability to improvise is a huge goal that any piano player can enjoy and fall in love with. Whilst particularly associated with Jazz, improvisation can extend into any genre and helps add a fantastic level of flare, personality and colour into your playing.
Not only have we written a number of guides on helping you get started with improvisation, but again our sheet music curation has a few selected titles to help you master the basics.
Challenge 3: Godowsky’s Left Hand Challenge
If you find yourself getting bored at the piano or really want to sink your teeth into something truly challenging, unique and outright absurd, the Godowsky left hand challenge is the one to try!
Godowsky was a sensational pianist who was always pushing innovation within the piano community, often referred to as ‘The Pianist’s Pianist’, he set himself the challenge of mastering Chopin’s Etudes using only his left hand, creating unique compositions that allowed the pieces to be played with just five fingers.
As any seasoned pianist will know, playing the Etudes with both hands is hard enough, so whilst playing them with one hand may sound impossible, Godowsky managed to form the composition and master it. To this day it stands as a truly remarkable feat for any pianist to take on.
Explore Godowsky’s works here and try them for yourself:
Whilst Godowsky did take Chopin’s works to a new level, for the intermediate or even beginner pianist, the same principles can be applied to create your own unique takes on classic pieces. Set yourself the challenge of playing a piece you are already comfortable with and try seeing how you may adjust the composition to work with just the left hand, you might be surprised by what you can come up with!
Challenge 4: Write Your Own Composition
Playing music and writing music are two very different things, even those who would consider themselves an avid player of Beethoven or Bach, trying to compose to their level is an entirely different skillset altogether.
Why not try to make this year your opportunity to explore your own musical creations, see what you can create and how it reflects your personality. We have written our own guide on helping you get started with composition, but ultimately there are no right or wrong answers.
Trying to write your own compositions is a fantastic way to also develop further respect for the music you do love and enjoy listening to, it allows you to notice small flares, subtle nuances and interlinking passages that you may not appreciate when either just trying to read sheet music from a page, or listening to a piece.
Challenge 5: Meet Other Piano Players!
Traditionally, piano playing can be a rather isolating hobby or passion, it is typically something done in isolation or by yourself. We don't believe this need to be the case and actually, playing the piano and learning to play piano can be an incredibly sociable event.
There are a number of fantastic piano groups and meetups happening up and down the country, as well as a plethora of online groups that are all about helping encourage people to fall in love with playing. We highly recommend visiting these groups as a way of meeting like minded people who also enjoy the piano or even similar styles of music as you.
At Millers for example, we are currently piecing together a vast array of regular events, community meetups and even coffee mornings to help bring pianists together and share their love for piano. (Be sure to follow us on social media to ensure you’re in the loop!)
Sharing your difficulties, successes and aspirations for piano playing with someone else is one of the best ways to inspire your playing, try new techniques and make lasting friendships and memories, which after all, is what music is all about!
We hope you enjoyed this quick list and that it has given you some inspiration into the kinds of piano challenges that you can explore. If you are looking for more inspiration, why not explore our Piano Journal, or sheet music repertoire. If you are looking to learn more about piano or upgrading your current instrument, our experts would be more than happy to help offer some fantastic advice into how you can enhance your piano playing, visit our showroom to learn more!.