A Method For Practicing Smarter, Not Harder
by Cindy Anne Broz
- SURVEY the piece by playing it through from beginning to end 1-2 times. Be sure to make note of sections that are difficult for you.
- MARK (in pencil) the sections of the piece that are most difficult for you to play. Use brackets or parentheses. If you miss a certain note consistently, mark that note with a circle. Mark in key signature notes or accidentals if you miss them more than once. This is especially important in keys that have more than 3 sharps or flats. If the piece has a double-sharp or double-flat, circle that note along with the preceding and following notes.
- Focus your practice ATTENTION on the difficult/marked sections. Practice circled notes by playing the note in context with the several preceding and several following notes. Practice double-sharps and double-flats by playing the circled notes first, then playing them in context with the preceding and following measures. Practice bracketed sections slowly, and then increase to the appropriate or designated tempo.
- REPLAY each difficult section in the context of one, two, and three measures preceding and following it. If you are unable to play each section accurately in this context, then return to focusing practice "ATTENTION" on the respective section.
- TIE TOGETHER all elements of the piece. Practicing the piece from the beginning to the end. Practice dynamics, tonal elements, and tempi. Polish the entire piece. If the difficult sections remain unstable, return to “ATTENTION” and “REPLAY” until these sections are as smooth and consistent as the more facile sections of the piece.