My son, the hard working violinist, used to practice every day in the kitchen. I would ask about the other violins in his orchestra, about how they practiced. His response was something I never forgot. He said that they just “get” the music faster than he did, that he had to spend more time practicing. OK, this made sense, sort of. I think I get it now. For the past 4 months I’ve been working on an etude that is full of double stops. I’m practicing in small sections. Good so far. I was working on one section yesterday when I realized the “F” I was playing wasn’t an “F” at all. (Talk about slow learners.) I put on my “F” drone and worked the section again. And again and again. I was so happy that I finally got it. I thought about this, why it took me so long to realize that I was playing a wrong note, which just made the next few chords wrong as well. It has to do with listening. It seems to me that I spend so much energy looking at the music and thinking about my left hand that I don’t have much left for listening. So today when I work on this section again, I’m going to close my eyes and listen for that “F”, as well as the other notes. It’s only about 4 measures, so after working on it for months I probably don’t have to look at the music. Closing your eyes opens up your ears. I think it’s a fact and I’ll just keep trying.
2 thoughts on “Don’t Stop…Trying”
David B Teague says:
Your “F” that wasn’t an “F” at all is why I go to a teacher with some regularity though I’ve been playing for a long time, she hears things that I do not, and always is able to create an etude to help fix the problem.
But I really like to work a short section, pause briefly, then get back to it, and after 10 minutes or so stop for a slightly longer break, then work another section or piece. It rests the brain.
Nancy Mack says:
David, your practice method is great. I say that because I do the same thing! Thanks.