There are multitude of reasons why it becomes your responsibility to learn a piece of music quickly, and there are times when we can’t always find enough practice time in our schedules. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your time.
1.) Work on what needs to be performed first.
This may be an obvious suggestion, but it helps to organize your duties in categories, and work on music that needs to be performed soonest.
2.) Create a plan of action for each piece.
Maybe one piece is sight-readable, perhaps another needs more attention to detail or you need to work on memorizing something - whatever the need is, make a realistic plan for each piece for your practice time. Write out your goals for the session in a practice journal and move the bar higher for each consecutive session.
3.) Stack your music in order of priority.
Put the hardest piece on top of the stack and work towards the goal you just created. If you have a long practice session ahead of you, you should try to get through the entire stack.
(pro-tip!) If you get through the stack before your allotted session is over, flip the stack over and start again!
4.) Work on the toughest sections of each piece spots, first.
Every piece of music will have certain measures (or even pages!) that require more attention. Always start on these spots when you begin learning a piece, then the tricky spot will be the most familiar to you when you perform!
5.) Break the piece down.
What is it that’s tripping you up in the tough spots? Is it the rhythm? The intervals? The fingering? The words? Don’t try to do it all at once, but take things in sections. We don’t learn anything by blazing through it, but with careful planning and slow practice.
Remember playing through an entire piece start to finish isn’t practicing, it’s performing. Practicing is planning and working on specific areas over and over until you become fluent.
What suggestion helped you the most? What do you do to get the most out of your practice time? Comment below and share with your friends and students!