Have you had the experience of learning a new piece one day and coming back to it the next day to find it hasn’t stuck at all?
If you approach a new piece using the repeated read-through method, you’ll probably find at the end of a practice session you have managed to get it sounding better than it did at the start of the session. But how frustrating when you come back to it the next day it feels like it hasn’t stuck at all!
Fortunately, there are much better ways to go about learning a new piece such as using my Three S’s: Slowly, Separately and Sections to build solid foundations for consistent progress.
In the following video, I demonstrate The Three S’s in action using Petzhold’s Minuet in G minor (BWV Anh. 115) from the Anna Magdalene Notebook. Working in units of one bar (plus one note) and with each hand alone, we find as many patterns as we can as we practise. By patiently repeating a small unit of music – enough to hold in our working memory – at the speed of no mistakes and with our mind fully engaged, we are digging firm foundations for security later on.
Practice like this takes a fair deal of discipline, but the rewards are significant. Remember:
“Practice makes permanent, and only perfect practice makes perfect!”
For more detailed information on the process, follow this link to my blog post, A Daisy Chain