Practising is the chore that has to be done if you wish to improve your playing. If you can't trust yourself to practise regularly, then make a timetable each week of the things you wish to achieve and stick to it. Practising allows your technique and musical imagination to develop properly. As you begin to work out and overcome each problem you will start to enjoy practice and you will feel yourself improving.
It's everyone’s' desire to achieve as much as possible in as little time as possible. You must therefore practise methodically and thoughtfully. Practice does make perfect BUT - Perfect practice makes perfect a lot quicker. If you cannot do something then ask yourself why? The brain sends out all the signals to your fingers so perhaps you are not approaching the problem from the right direction. REMEMBER practice methodically and thoughtfully. Organise your practice.
e.g. 5 minutes long notes
5 minutes scales and arpeggios
5 minutes study
as long as you can on the pieces.
carefully and critically to what you do. Listen!
Everything else in practicing depends on you listening to yourself
As you practise, try to think what the teacher might say and act accordingly. Be your own teacher. Don't wait for your teacher to tell you every thing to do; figure it out for yourself. Often you can figure out the problem and solve it just as well as the teacher can, so why wait?
In the end, you teach yourself how to play, with guidance from others like your teachers.
Try recording yourself occasionally - this can be very revealing. Always view your work objectively - find the difficult bits and practise them. Don't look at practicing as putting in a certain amount of time, or as repeating your pieces a certain number of times. Look at practicing as finding and solving problems in your pieces.
There are three steps in this process:
IDENTIFY what's wrong.
Know what that piece should sound like, and recognise the difference between
the way it should sound and the way it does sound.
FIGURE OUT why. Is the problem caused by weak technique? Bad fingering? An awkward stretch or jump in the music? An unclear mental picture of the music in your mind? Whatever it is, you have to figure out the cause of the problem before you can fix it.
FIX THE PROBLEM. This might mean using some of the practice methods you have learned with your teacher, analyzing the music so you understand it better, or practising the problem over and over until it is comfortable to play. Problems you can’t solve yourself, ask your teacher or fellow students.
However - DO NOT WASTE TIME PRACTISING THINGS YOU CAN PLAY!
Hold the instrument correctly
aim for perfection in notes, sound, and musical expression. If you work to get
it right from the very first, then it's easy. Try to remember that doing it
one time right is better than doing it a million times wrong.
Try to apply the things you have learned in theory and everything you know about music to the pieces you play. Look for the key, scales, chords, patterns, repeated sections, the form, phrases, accompaniment patterns, rhythmic patterns, everything you can find. If you understand the music, you will learn it faster, remember it better, and play it more musically. Use a pencil and write things in the music as you find them and to remind you of accidentals and the like.
Think about Tone, Articulation, Phrasing, Rhythm, Intonation, Breathing, Dynamics, Listening, Character, Sonority, Vibrato, Fingering
How much should you practice? The quick answer is more but the real answer is try to be more productive. What to practice, how to, and for how long is entirely up to you. Practising is about being your own teacher. Sternly demand better things. Don’t be satisfied on “getting by”. If you really want to play, you will want to play well and only with practise can this happen. Be active in your practice. Blow, blow, blow and listen, listen, listen. Most music is happy and even sad music needs life! Your conviction should be that even a single note is music and therefore it should be played beautifully. Do not leave any stone unturned. The more attention you pay to every note, the better the whole performance will be. Summon up will-power, self-discipline and ingenuity.
Practise is ultimately your responsibility and it is up to you to discover your problems and the solutions. You must be the first judge.
AN AMATEUR PRACTISES UNTIL THEY GET IT RIGHT. A PROFESSIONAL PRACTISES UNTIL IT WONT GO WRONG.
PRACTISE LIKE A PROFESSIONAL!!
Copyright © 2002 [Mostlywind]. All rights reserved.
Revised: December 05, 2011
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