practice for difficult technical passages.Download the whole article from here Are
those nasty little passages, getting you down? If so, it is time to apply some
other strategies that might help overcome that feeling of frustration. Over my
years as a musician, I have come to believe that learning music is as much a
problem solving exercise, as time spent "wood shedding" or,
"PP"(Personal Practice), as a colleague of mine calls it. As a
teacher, I feel that one of the most valuable things I can give my students is
an orderly approach to practice, when they leave my studio, I hope that my
students have tools that they can use in a pragmatic way, so with those
technical problems solved, we can get on with thinking about the music! With a
problem solving approach, students can develop their own strategies that can be
adapted to different situations. However, before we continue, it might be
helpful to look at the ways our minds process information when we learn a
main principal here is to simplify a passage so that your brain can manage
smaller chunks of information, and then gradually build up to the full version.
This can be at a micro level of only an interval of two notes, or a larger
chunk depending upon the difficulty. When looking at how you are going to work
on a passage, always try to find out any discernable patterns. These can be
sequential intervallic passages or passages that are recognizable as a scale.
This is a way of seeing the music in a larger context, again moving form a
micro to macro view.
is of vital importance to commence work on a passage at a realistic tempo, it
is time wasted if you work at a tempo that is too fast. A good clue is to do a
mental check in of how you are feeling, if you are the least bit on edge,
fingers feel stiff, take it easier.
Aural Concept of the Sound
we learn a musical passage we are taking in information on different levels: Ideally
you need to be able to imagine and pre-hear what is going to be played. You
need to develop 'mindfulness' about the way you practice, a quality of
listening that is in touch with every aspect of what is happening / has
happened while you are playing. To develop this concept the idea of a 'Process
Loop' is most helpful. This is simply the process of setting an objective, 'what
will I do', performing it, then feedback, 'what did I do' and finally, 'what
will I do next'. This simple, but powerful method of working is the key to
achieving your objectives. Key listening points are: Co-ordination between your
fingers, breath, tongue and consistency in the sound/tonal balance.
bodies have their own intelligence, consider all the steps that go to producing
a sound on a musical instrument. So many things must happen so quickly that we
cannot consciously think about each step. This is where muscle memory comes
into the picture. On this level, you are programming your muscles to do certain
tasks that will eventually become automatic. Here again breaking a task into
small chunks is vital to this process.This
is not just the tactile feel the fingers have on the instrument, but what our
body needs to do in terms of oral cavity, breath control, to produce the sounds
that we imagine. Things happen in their own time at this level, be patient, and
focused. Once one
task is mastered, there are always lots more things you can do to develop your
playing, especially if you have been honestly working with your 'Process Loop'.
of these exercises can be creatively adapted for variety and to make practice
fun. Whatever you are working on, keep in mind that you are always working on
your control of the sound, use this time to focus on the way you use the air.
You can work on many levels.