Wednesday, July 6, 2011

6 Ways to Spice Up Your Practice

Sometimes it's hard to get out of the rut when practicing pieces.  You hit the same trouble spots.  You make the same mistakes.  You just don't seem to be making much progress.  Here are six ways to spice things up a bit.  Some of these ideas might be a bit challenging for the beginner student, but not all of them.

1.  Play backwards.
Start with the last measure and play it.  Then back up a measure and play that measure, and so on. 

2.  Play in "slow motion."
Slow everything down and play at half the speed you normally do.

3.  Play by "expanding the box."
Start with a measure with which you are struggling.  Play that measure through once or twice.  Then add the measure before that measure and play through both.  Add the next measure on the next time around.  Rinse.  Repeat.

4.  Play everything in staccato.

5.  Do some transposing.
Take a section of the piece and transpose it into a different (and preferrably an easier) key.

6.  Figure out the chords underlying each measure (and write them in).
This is a great way to help you get the big picture idea.

Question for you: What methods do you use to help you with your practice?

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