A few years ago, I heard Robert Duke (who was once a band teacher) tell a story about how he flipped practicing, and got his students to beg him to be allowed to practice more.
Essentially, he told his students that they were not allowed to take their instruments home, until he had heard them play individually and gauged whether they could practice effectively and avoid developing bad habits.
Once they demonstrated a certain level of practice competence, they could take their instrument home – but only practice for a limited amount of time.
Two Approaches to Memorization – One of Which Can Leave You Lost and Stranded if You Rely on It Too Much!
Ah, the dreaded memory slip.
We’ve all experienced at least one in our lifetimes. And spent many a sleepless night playing and replaying music in our heads, in an effort to reassure ourselves that we actually do have everything memorized. Or spent most of a performance fearing that we’re going to forget what comes next, or get stuck in an endless loop.
It may not literally be life or death, but it can certainly feel that way at times.
But then there are those for whom memorization seems to happen naturally. Easily. Almost without trying.
What’s up with that? Do they know something we don’t? Or are their brains just wired differently than ours?
With the Olympics just around the corner, you’re likely to come across an article or two about athletes’ use of mental imagery or visualization in the near future. Because whether it’s to build confidence, enhance performance, or allow for additional practice repetitions without putting excessive wear and tear on their bodies, mental rehearsal has become an essential piece of many athletes’ training regimens.
It’s not just Olympians who engage in visualization, of course.
Kristian Steenstrup: On Singing, Solfège, and Cultivating a More Efficient Approach to Learning New Music.
I have to confess that when I was in school, ear training classes were always a bit of a mystery to me. Something I grudgingly tolerated (or tried to get out of!), rather than embraced.
I mean, sure, I got that the sight-singing, dictation, and rhythm exercises we did were all intended to help develop my musicianship in some way. But I wasn’t really sure what “musicianship” meant exactly. And I didn’t quite see how any of this was going to help me produce a better sound in my Beethoven sonata or take my Paganini Caprice to the next level either.