Seven Rules for Practice
by Frank Barton (UK)
|Follow these seven simple rules and you will make more progress in one month than in six months of unsystematic study... says Frank Barton!|
No teacher, of course
will deny the utility of daily practice. Students however are not always so inclined.
They may practice every day, but do not really put their utmost effort into scales
and exercises, being under the impression that these things are irksome and boring.
This is a very mistaken point of view. Scales and exercises are aids to improvement.
Convince yourself of this and take a pride in your ability do do them really well.
|1. Never pass a mistake|
Whenever a wrong note is struck or a wrong finger used, or bellows open when they should be closing, start that passage again and continue to do so till it is done correctly. Passing on, intending to correct the mistake later, will simply confirm the error and make it more difficult to correct later.
|2. Practice slowly at first|
is better to avoid mistakes than to rectify them. When the passage is played correctly,
increase the rapidity until you reach the desired speed. It is certain that that
which cannot be done correctly at a slow tempo can certainly not be played fast.
The increased speed may make the mistake less noticeable; but it will be there
just the same.|
|3. Find out exactly what the difficulty is|
that, in a passage of four bars, the difficulty lies in the execution of one bar
only, practice that bar till it is played with ease, then play the whole passage.|
|4. Practice each hand separately|
at first seems obvious, but I mention it because it is surprising how many pupils
fail to do it.|
|5. Practice in small sections|
if a piece contains no decidedly difficult passage requiring concentrated practice,
it is still better to learn it in small sections rather than go straight through
from beginning to end. For instance, in a piece of two pages containing eighty
bars, you will do much better by playing sections of, say, four, eight, or sixteen
bars twenty times each than by playing the whole piece straight through twenty
|6. After corrections, develop fluency|
besides being necessary for obtaining correctness of notes, fingering, etc.. is
also necessary afterwards for gaining more fluency and more finish in the manner
|7. Don't look down at the fingers|