I would like to share a very helpful tip for when you need to begin somewhere other than the start of a section or phrase during practice.
You’ve identified the need for greater security, and are practising bar by bar. The rule is to play from the first note of a bar and stop on the first note of the next bar, resisting the temptation to carry on past this point. This is great for control, and also for memory work. It does take a fair amount of discipline and concentration though.
Having played the bar, we stop, remove our hands from the keyboard and reflect on our results
- Were the notes all correct?
- Did I play rhythmically, with flow, dynamics, organisation and shaping?
- Did it feel and sound good?
If not, you’ll need to repeat the bar until your inner quality control inspector gives it the green light before moving on to the next bar.
But let’s say you get to a bar that starts with a tied note – how do you accommodate that?
If you leave that note out you create a problem, because you are not accounting for the finger whose job it is to be resting in that particular key at the precise moment you play the other notes. Playing the note where the tie originates is certainly an option, but my preference is to put the key down silently ahead of time so the finger is in its place the moment we start.
In the third bar of this example from the D minor Fugue from Bach’s WTC (Book 1), first put down the Bb with your RH 5th finger silently (a useful skill in itself) and you’ll be ready to play the bar.
Another useful tip is to make sure you have written in the finger numbers at the start of each bar, so when you begin from there you’ll know exactly which fingers to use.