Best definition of “good practice” and how to go about doing it I’ve seen.Tom Poore wrote: ↑Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:07 pmToo often slow practice is treated as though it’s the thing itself. It’s not. Slowing down isn’t the essence of good practice. Practicing slowly, by itself, is meaningless. If you’re practicing badly, then slowing down bad practice won’t help. You’ll still be practicing badly, only slower. So slowing down is only a symptom of good practice, not the thing itself. It’s what you do once you’ve slowed down that determines whether you’re practicing well.
The essence of good practice is to think clearly about what you’re doing. Good practice, in part, is the systematic elimination of confusion. And confusion comes in many guises:
• What fingering to use in a thorny passage.
• What comes next when playing a section from memory.
• How does this tricky rhythm go.
The biggest thing that separates great players from mediocre ones is that great players know what they’re doing. Every problem they encounter is dissected, examined, and solved. One example: in masterclasses I often see this. A concert artist asks a student to describe the harmony in a passage. The student can’t do it. The artist then describes in detail the harmony. The artist knew the harmony—the student didn’t. And that’s one of many reasons why the student falters in a passage and the concert artist doesn’t.
Anything that makes you unsure, nervous, or hesitant is something that needs to be resolved during practice. If you’re not solving a problem, then you’re not practicing. Mindless finger-wiggling isn’t good practice. And mindless finger-wiggling done slowly is no better.
South Euclid, OH
Thank you, Tom. This is incredibly helpful.