Practice suggestions from musician and author Gerald Klickstein:
Six ways to enjoy detailed practice
1. Bring meaning to every gesture. You might be working on a scale or a masterpiece, but, regardless, shoot sparks of imagination through every sound you make.
2. Isolate problem spots in context. When you tackle troublesome passages, sense the dramatic framework from which they’re extracted. For example, if a string player practices a 3-note segment with a tricky left-hand shift, she should still express the emotional energy of the larger phrase.
3. Take pleasure in excellence. In my book The Musician’s Way, I highlight seven Habits of Excellence: ease, expressiveness, accuracy, rhythmic vitality, beautiful tone, focused attention, and positive attitude (p. 20-23). To be meticulous in practice, we have to enjoy embodying these qualities. So choose accessible music, set high standards for yourself, and revel in meeting your standards.
4. Listen deeply. As you play or sing, listen intently, and compare what you hear to what you ideally want. Periodically record yourself, too, and listen back. As you listen, be open to whatever transpires, and treat errors with wonder. When a passage needs work, isolate it, and then dive into the problem-solving process, mindful that unraveling difficulties boosts your competence.
5. Seek variety. When we tune in to fine distinctions in our music making, we continuously adjust our sound, and then our phrases shimmer with life. We also ignite our enthusiasm for practice because things remain fresh. With that in mind, ceaselessly search out ways to enliven your sound: toy with articulation and accent, tint your tone, and so on (see “Essentials of Artistic Interpretation” on p. 23-34 of The Musician’s Way).
6. Shift perspectives. To help generate allure in your sound, frequently alter your perspective in practice. For example, as you refine a phrase, you might give more attention to easefulness for a minute and then explore possibilities for adding crispness to your rhythm. Mix in regular breaks, as well, to recharge your mind and muscles. On top of that, ask fellow musicians to listen to you and share their thoughts. No matter how musically advanced we become, there are always new insights for us to discover.
Post a Comment