Music Tip #17    From Carol Worthey

What Is A Clever Way to Make Yourself Willing to Practice?

Carol Worthey

Make Practicing a "game." Don't take it so seriously that you dread doing it, don't force yourself to do it or occupy yourself with other activities as a way of avoiding it. Just make it a game. What does that mean? When you practice your scales, for example, play them in different ways so that your interest is kept up. Play the Right Hand and Left Hand in contrary motion, a sort of mirror image of each other (which, by the way, is an excellent first step in learning the fingering, because it's going to have the same scale fingering in both hands when you're playing scales in contrary motion.) Then when that step is mastered, play both hands in parallel motion. Or play the scale accenting different notes in a pattern--say, every fourth note--will be played a bit louder than the other notes. Then change the emphasis to every two or three notes. Games are tried and true ways to keep interest going. When you are learning a piece and have achieved a good level of certainty on it, try playing it with closed eyes or head uplifted. This is a great way to develop the spatial sense of how far or near one note is from another. Playing each hand alone is always a good gradient step before putting both hands together, but make it interesting (and challenging) by varying the speed at which you play the passage. Have fun! You'll be more likely to practice on a regular basis when your reward is twofold: Increased ability, and FUN! Maybe that's why we say "Let's PLAY" music! Have fun!

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