Four Sets of Tips for Music Students
Some Suggestions for Learning New Music
1. Analyse your music away from the piano. Note similar passages, put in fingerings, notice dynamics, etc. Use a pencil to write in fingerings.
2. Use the same fingering patterns for all similar passages.
3. In fingering chords and arpeggios take advantage of the spread between your thumb and fingers. Use the fourth finger in the four-note chords with a fourth in their centers.
4. Eliminate all unnecessary motion. Play as many notes as possible before changing your hand position and keep your hand position moves as short as possible.
5. Try out your fingerings. Play each hand alone, up to tempo or faster, and see if your fingerings work. If not, change them. Always play every note at its proper dynamic level and with the proper articulation.
6. Play hands together ten times slower and use your fingerings, proper dynamics and touch.
7. Never practice faster than you can play everything correctly. Your muscles remember how you use them-not how you intended to use them. They do not know right from wrong! A muscle has no conscience.
8. Work out the difficult passages. Dowel them by practicing one or two measures before and after the difficult ones with them.
9. Keep relaxed at all times. When you feel tension, stop! Relax and then place hands and arms in relaxed position (fingers curved, wrists level, arms hanging from the shoulders) and start again.
10. Try practicing fast difficult passages softly at first.
Ten Points for Good Practicing
© Scott A. Anderson
1. Have patience with yourself as you develop new and improved skills. Slow and accurate practice brings the best and fastest results.
2. Understand the assigned material presentation, purpose, and the proper approach to study. The mind tells the fingers what to do. Be sure that your mind understands the practice goals.
3. Identify avoidable practice distractions. Create the appropriate atmosphere for practice. Have all of the materials close by.
4. Listen to recordings and attend concerts for inspiration. Purchase books and magazines.
5. Review past exercises and compositions. Technique and musical quality is both reinforced and enhanced. The sense of accomplishment helps your self-esteem.
6. Too much of anything can cause problems. Too much physical practice causes fatigue and improper practice of technique and musical expression.
7. Enjoy making music!