Practice Smarter, Not Harder
“Practice smarter, not harder.” It’s a phrase we’ve all heard at some point in our lives, but how do we actually go about practicing “smarter”? Here are six ways we’ve found that can help you practice more effectively:
1. Practice in small intervals. Multiple studies have shown that smaller amounts of focused practice times are significantly more effective than long repetitive drills.
2. Break up a piece into sections. Just focus on one section until you feel comfortable with the fingering, counting, dynamics, etc., and then you can move on to the next section. The best way to solve a problem is to divide and conquer!
3. Practice thoughtfully. While playing through a piece, try and make mental notes of all the details, big or small, included in the piece.
4. If you make a mistake, stop and correct it! Immediately go back a few measures and play through the challenging section until it becomes second nature.
5. Repeat tricky passages until they become easy. Ignoring a problem won’t make it go away. It takes hard work and diligence for it to be solved!
6. Strategically slow things down. After making a mistake, slow down and play through the part that was challenging without stopping. This allows it to be learned right, instead of rushed through and learned incorrectly.
And remember, “Success does not consist in never making mistakes, but in never making the same one a second time.” -George Bernard Shaw.