Saturday, March 15, 2014

Thoughtful Advice from Pamela Frank

I agree that two hours a day of really good practice can be exhausting. The trick is to engineer those two hours so that you get the most possible benefit from them. If I practice a difficult passage for 20-30 minutes, with the goal of actually learning the passage, I can step away from it for a few minutes, do something else (like write a blog post), and more often than not I will be able to play it better when I return to it. Sometimes it takes several sessions to learn particularly difficult passages, but I happen to like learning music slowly. It's the way, when you think about it, that music is usually written.

I also find that I have to devise ways to make my "sessions" (however long I can go without breaking concentration) truly productive. Often taking the time to figure out a fingering that actually works, or re-writing something enharmonically so that it makes more sense on the instrument is worth several days of hitting-the-head-against-the-wall practicing.

I'll get back to work now.

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