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Sunday, April 3, 2011

C. A. R. E. S.

Even if you're not quite sure how to go about practicing something, you can't go wrong by taking a small chunk (you can get a lot done by zeroing in on two notes) and applying the following acronym:

  • Carefully - Work with great focus and deliberation.
  • Accurately - Take care to play the chunk with the intonation, bow placement and style, posture, tone, etc. that you would want to have happen in a performance situation, even though it's under tempo.
  • Repeatedly - Figuring it out is only the first step. Actually learning a skill requires many many thoughtful repetitions.
  • Efficiently - Avoid any excess tension or movement that will create problems at performance tempi.
  • SLOWLY - It is never useful to play something faster than you can play it well. It is very useful to play very slowly, so that you have plenty of time to think and assess.
The order of the letters does not matter in terms of relative importance, but I thing S. C. A. R. E. or R. A. C. E. S. probably sends the wrong message.

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