Practice Until You Can't Get It Wrong
I love Summer lessons! Students are more relaxed and there's a lot of positive energy and good vibrations everywhere. Even if the heat index is off the charts, throw on that bathing suit and play in the sprinkler. Summer time is all about making memories and remembering the escapades of our misspent youth.
This morning I had a session with Simon. Simon is a disciplined, determined and energetic 11 year old but even the best students get into a relaxed way of practicing. Let's face it. It's more fun to play what you know than it is to practice what you don't. The latter takes a lot more effort. Even though I could tell Simon had been practicing in between lessons for the past few weeks, there was something missing. I know his capabilities and strengths and I knew he could be doing more. So this time between lessons I checked in, sending emails asking how and what he had practiced.
"Simon......have you practiced in quality today or quantity?
Make sure your practice sessions are focused. Don't just play through your song and be done. Really take time to work on measures. Stop and focus on the fingering that is causing you to stumble. Slow the section down so you can build it
I'm expecting great things Tuesday!!!"
Now, I say something similar to this at the end of each lesson. We always recap and reread what was written down for each piece. Perhaps it was the extra messages that got him going, the extra attention to detail he knew was missing or Mozart visited him in his sleep. In 5 days Mozart's, Ronda Alla Turca, went from roughly hands together and choppy to solid and memorized. Vivaldi's Summer, had improved in speed and accuracy tremendously. Well done, Simon. Well done.