Hi Everyone! Summer is approaching, and with that more time to practice. The foundation of musical study, (or any study for that matter) is practice, and while the amount of time and regularity with which you practice is the single most important factor, HOW you practice is nearly as important.
Don’t start practicing just from the beginning. If you always start practicing from the beginning of the piece, you’ll have a strong beginning, but a weak ending. Also, if the intention is to memorize the piece, you have created a muscle memory chain that is far too long, and a memory slip will force you to restart from the beginning. Make sure to divide your music into logical phrases, then work on the very last phrase, then the phrase before that, etc. Work backwards by phrase.
Practice slowly. Keep errors in repetitions to an absolute minimum. If you keep making mistakes in repetitions, keep slowing down until your repetitions are clean and precise. You may need to use a metronome set to the shortest note value to be slow enough.
Take frequent mini breaks: practice hard for 10 minutes, break for a couple minutes, practice hard again for 10 minutes, break for a couple minutes, etc. Stay as focused as you can.
If you feel like you’re getting frustrated, shift to another practice activity, like a different phrase, different piece, or different exercise. While proper practicing is work and can be tedious at times, it shouldn’t be frustrating. You should feel like you’re making progress.
That’s all folks!
Until next time…..
— Rob Watson