Here is a question I received this week from a reader. Please feel free to email me your questions at Q: I have an adult student who has just retired and now has a lot more time to practise the piano, which is her passion. Despite all this extra practice, she never seems to reach the stage where she can play any of her pieces fluently. A. Thank you for the question, which I am sure resonates with a lot of people. I’m going to assume your pupil is fit and healthy for her age, has no learning disability and is not attempting to play pieces beyond her level. In virtually all cases like this, it is skimping over the initial learning stages that causes the problems later, or assuming that a piece (once learned) can just be played through forever after. Practising V. Playing Through The short-term buzz we get from playing something through at the piano when it’s not really ready pales into insignificance compared to the deep satisfaction of knowing a piece properly and thoroughly. If you go into your garden and pick too many flowers there will be none left and your garden will be bare. Let’s use another analogy – practising is like saving, and performing (or playing pieces through) is like spending. Your student’s savings account for each of her pieces may well be depleted and she is in the red. I am going to suggest a few ideas that will fill her coffers, but remember – these will need to be done regularly to keep her pieces in good playing order. And if she doesn’t touch a particular piece at all for several weeks, she can expect […]