Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spot Work

My students are preparing for their end of the year recital in May.  This is an exciting time for students and their teacher, me! :)  Each student was encouraged to thoughtfully pick a piece (I would play several) that they love and would enjoy practicing.  Now we are getting to the point where the notes and rhythm have been learned and we are working on phrasing and expression. 

However, there are always places that give them trouble.  I call these spots "speed bumps".  Many students tend to practice the same way. First they play their scales and then they take out their recital piece and play it from the beginning. When the get to the so-called "speed bump", they grimace and sigh and say something like "wait", or "no" and then go back to the beginning and do it again hoping the speed bump will just disappear!

There is a better way!  I work with them to isolate these spots.  We often mark them with a pencil, a star or an arrow or something.  I encourage them to sit down and just practice that spot, very slowly.  They can do this several times a day for however long - even 5 -10 minutes. Hands separately is especially effective.

Then when they have conquered the spot, go back to the beginning and play through.  See if the speed bump has been smoothed out.  More speed bumps may emerge!  Repeat the process. :)

I am pleased to see several students using this method on their own. Way to go!! :) 

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