Learn how to practise efficiently and you will save time and progress more quickly.
Here are some ways to squeeze the most out of your practising and avoid wasting time mindlessly playing through your pieces.
Practise makes PERMANENT
If you practise mistakes they become permanent.
Read your teachers practise instruction. Don’t trust your memory of the lesson.
- The first ten minutes of your practise is when you will be most productive - When your concentration is at its best. Use the first ten minutes to practise you most difficult things - Your new piece? Thats passage that keeps defeating you.
- Always start a new piece hands separately - maybe first four bars right hand then left hand. You don’t need to plough through the whole piece.
- Keep fingering consistent (always the same) this gets it into your kinaesthetic memory more quickly. Keep a pencil and rubber handy so you can pencil it in.
- Playing slowly is the best way to correct errors. If you can’t play it slowly you don’t know it well enough to play it quickly!
- Add dynamics from the beginning - then they will be permanently there.
- You wont need to play through your pieces every day - Just work on the difficulties
- Notice repeated sections it can save time to leave them out.
- Repetition of a section (or looping) is good to get your hands co-ordinated and set it into your muscular memory (kinaesthetic memory)
- Don’t keep going back to the beginning, practising picking a piece up at any point.
- Practise with purpose in small manageable chunks. Know what your purpose is before you start.
The purpose could be ...
- To get to know the notes - and general structure of the piece.
- To sort out the fingering - have a pencil next to you.
- To co-ordinate your hands - play slowly pressing deeply into the keys. Playing with the sound off (silent practise) pressing deeply and very slowly.
- To get the slurs in place - practise lifting hands at slur endings. To work out where the musical sentences (phrases) begin and end.
- To play with a different tone or the right tone to communicate the meaning of the passage - crecendo? softer? louder? more sweetly? ….
- To get the rhythms - Counting? using metronome? tapping and playing? listening to a recording?
When you have finished you should know what you have achieved. Perhaps get a note book and write what you have achieved after each practising session.
“Today I achieved a beautiful legato in bar 7”
“Now I can play bar 2”