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Thread: Best Methods of Practicing - what leads to consistent high quality performances?

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    Default Best Methods of Practicing - what leads to consistent high quality performances?

    Ok so I have been playing music (piano) for a while now, but I seem to have hit a wall in my performances (lessons/studio class/etc). I would love to play perfectly polished like the students around me do, but I keep running into hitting wrong notes etc.. how do i fix those mistakes in my practice sessions, so that during my performances I can focus solely on making music and not worrying about notes/memory slips?

    I guess what I am asking is what methods of practice are tried and proven to consistently lead to quality performances?

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    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    Practicing slow, even when you're already working in tempo.

    For memory, divide your piece up into parts (small, big up to you). But they shouldn't not be the formal or logical parts of the piece, they should fall randomly inbetween phrases or sections. Then play the last part to the end. Play the second to last part to the last part, but stop right at the divide and so on and so on. Take care to stop yourself from continuing on beyond a part.
    Last edited by Rasa; Dec-26-2011 at 15:20.
    I can't play Debussy étude

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    Senior Member kv466's Avatar
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    Rasa's recommendations are excellent...I would only add that if you think you've practiced something enough, practice it twice as much more...I have occasionally run into a piece that just doesn't want to stick but if you play it over and over enough you might get a little sick of it but at least you'll be sick of a piece that you have memorized up and down and side to side. Wish you the best in your performances!

    Oh, and create more performance situations for yourself. I find it incredibly difficult to just practice for myself; ask friends and family to sit in on entire runs of whatever piece you're trying to perfect...if you're like me and play better in front of people then that will help to keep you focused...if you don't play better in front of people, it will help you to conquer that simple beast. G'luck.

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    I think that one of your problems is that you are comparing your performances to those of others. Everyone learns at different speeds. It may be that you are trying to perform pieces that for whatever reason you don't really know properly, and worrying about going wrong in performance means that you are not entirely focused on playing the music, as one part of your brain is worrying about going wrong. I can make some suggestions. 1) Don't compare your playing to others. 2) Don't worry if you make mistakes, practise pieces so that you can't make mistakes because you are absolutely sure of what you are doing, it doesn't matter how long this takes. 3) accept that everyone makes mistakes. 4) If you do make a mistake in a performance don't carry on thinking about it, as this will disrupt your concentration. 5) Do remember that most audiences don't know the piece that you are playing as well as you do, and so won't notice a mistake unless you draw their attention to it.

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    Junior Member grixxviolist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasa View Post
    Practicing slow, even when you're already working in tempo.
    my piano teacher told me that this is one of the most important thing to do so that you'll feel secure with your notes.
    and maybe sing your notes as well, for memory and to help you connect yourself with the music.
    music=home.

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    I once read an article about mistakes. The author said you shouldn't make them. I found this ridiculous because obviously nobody makes mistakes on purpose. But then he said that his father used to play a piece and always made the same mistakes, and I realized that happened to me so often. It seems somehow our fingers "memorize" the mistakes and repeat them. As you repeat them again and again, you get more chances of keeping making those mistakes. So his idea was you shouldn't try to play the whole piece if there are some parts you can't play properly. As said above, study very slowly those parts, as slowly as needed to do not make mistakes.

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    Senior Member Moira's Avatar
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    That tip about practicing at a slow tempo cannot be sufficiently over emphasised. The temptation is to take it fast because then we can practice it twice as much in the same time. Not true.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moira View Post
    That tip about practicing at a slow tempo cannot be sufficiently over emphasised. .
    Playing things slowly doesn't work for everyone. I know this because it doesn't work for me. I have to practise up to speed but in very, very small sections, sometimes only two notes at a time.

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