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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Quick Practice Tip: Begin with the End in Mind

Too often a student will be playing well in the lesson only to trip up somewhere in the last section of the piece. Beginning students will sometimes have difficulty playing the middle portions of a piece without mistake. What causes this?

I think the problem comes from the tendency to play pieces in their entirety and always starting at the beginning. I recall one Suzuki teacher suggesting that a playing of an entire piece should be considered "dessert" and not done every day. Instead, the student should be taught how to practice more efficiently by discovering and working more on areas that needed the extra practice and saving the "performance" time for some days. Good idea.

Another way to combat this problem is to practice starting at end of piece and working a section at a time backwards until the student finally reaches the beginning. I have been in the habit of assigning rehearsal letters to pieces that I am practicing. Then I just begin my practice session at the last rehearsal letter. Then I back up to the previous rehearsal letter and play again until I reach the end. I continue in this manner until I have reached the beginning.

You could even designate particular days of the week to be "backwards" days.

Happy Practicing!

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