March 20, 2013

Put it in writing

There are all kinds of way to mark your progress as you practice and develop.  And it is important to do that marking – you should be able to look back at your development and see your progress.  We have talked about recording yourself so you can hear your progress but you might want to consider capturing your development in other ways.
If you work from printed music you have many opportunities to make notes.  Use a pencil – you might want to come back to the tune and do something completely different in the future.  Mark all the challenges you meet – fingerings, lever (or pedal) changes, dynamics, expression and phrasing – all of these will help you work through the music and will also serve as documentation of your ability to play it when you were working on it.  Always use a pencil so you can make changes as you become more capable and experienced.   For instance you could start a practice and performance journal.

If you learn your music aurally there is still a lot to note – make yourself a list of tunes you are working.  This will help you make sure to practice everything – rather than working some tunes to perfection while forgetting about others.  Once you know a few tunes, you’ll be amazed at how fast you forget what you know or what you are learning.
No matter how you learn your music, make yourself a journal.  Write yourself notes about your practice.  Write down what is going wrong.  Note what have you tried.  Jot down what went right.  Be sure to include notes about what do you want to try as well as writing out how are you going to go about learning these new things. Also note things you still want to learn.

Document your progress, inspire yourself – be nice!  And don’t forget to read your journal.  Review your notes and your progress.  And since you know you’re going to be reading – be encouraging so you can learn from yourself.

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