Conservatoire Life, Practise

Covid-19 – Practise Experimentation

RWCMD made the decision to shut this week due to Covid-19. It’s hard not knowing when college will reopen, whether summer recitals will still be taking place etc. This is a very tough time for those who have contracted the virus. It is also a difficult time for my fellow musicians and artists that are self employed and have zero hours contracts (myself included).

I’ve decided to put a positive spin on the situation and take this time away from society (something pianists are used to anyway) as an opportunity to experiment with how I practice. I’m very lucky to have a lovely Yamaha U3 in my family home to keep me company.

Target points practise

No, I’m not literally using my piano as target practise. This type of practise I call target practise because it focuses only on the specific bits that are challenging. The way to do this is to take some sticky notes and sit with your score away from the piano. Find the passages/bars you find yourself stumbling over and stick a sticky note on them, giving each one a number.

Numbered sticky notes on the challenging bits of my Beethoven sonata.

By numbering the sticky notes you can keep a record of which bits you’ve practised and which bits you’ve neglected. I also find it useful to make a chart to tick off which bits I’ve practised.

An example of a chart you can create in Word. Along the top is the date, and down the left side is the numbers of the target points.

This experimentation was inspired by Claire Tueller’s TEDx talk ‘Perfect Practice Makes Perfect’. I tried to use her system called ‘skill spots’ but I found it too challenging to count each time I repeated a bar/passage. So instead I adapted her way of labelling music with sticky notes and turned it into my own system. I probably won’t continue to use the chart bit of the system, but I can still use the numbering system in my practise journal.

Link to Claire’s video:

Happy practising,

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