Smart Practice

March 23, 2018

No, this is not a new app to do your practicing for you – if only!  It is sound and sensible advice for learning faster and better.  You will frequently hear me say – Play the hardest part first and most.  Another way of looking at it is described here: Divide and Conquer.  If you are gifted academically, you probably do this naturally for all of your learning.  The rest of us figure out how to break up the learning into sections and master them individually with lots of repetition.  This is why textbooks are presented in units rather than one long stream of writing.

It is difficult to force yourself to stop in the middle of a song to repeat one section until it seems like a drill rather than music.  It may just feel wrong to do that to a piece of music.  After all, it is supposed to be creative and fun, right!  When we hear performances we hear a piece as a whole artistic concept.  We do not hear the working out of details that came before during hours of practice.

Know that the dedication to playing slowly, practicing in sections, multiple repetitions – basic tenets of smart practice will get you to that satisfying artistic performance – even if it is only for yourself!  Any time you hear a polished and beautiful performance, it is the result of inspiration,  and equally importantly,  hours of repetition.  The next time you are doing your 1 minute challenge or 5 perfect times in a row challenge, acknowledge any feelings of boredom or frustration, then tell yourself (or your child if you are a parent coach) “Let’s do it!” Practice with this kind of attitude for a week and see if it makes a difference.  Let me know!

Student Recognition – Apr 2017Piano Players Brains Are Different