The Practicing Shortcut
Do you want to become a player who does not make mistakes? Here's how:
Don't make mistakes!
1. Take the passage that is giving you trouble to a place where you can play it perfectly, right away. This almost always means:
a. slowing it down: play it so slow you can't possibly make a mistake
b. changing its register: transpose it (usually by octave) into a comfortable register
2. You may need to divide and conquer. This means working to grasp the intervals and rhythms of small segments of the tune.
3. Once you are playing it perfectly, repeat it several times; this is most important. We are creatures of habit. Your goal is to create habits of perfection. When learning new music or skills, the bulk of your practice time should be spent repeating difficult passages, but without mistakes.
4. As you repeat the passage, connect any divisions you've made one at a time, gradually bring it up to tempo, etc. Bring it back to the place the composer intended.
- The law of averages now works for you because you are not rehearsing mistakes.
- This is a faster way to learn a piece, much faster than simply playing through it many times and hoping for the best.
- You learn the piece at a deeper level and will therefore be more confident when you go to perform it.
- You not only learn the piece, but problems solved in this piece will still be solved when you face them in another piece.
- It's fun to sound good right from the beginning!