Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Practice Technique

One of the blogs over on the "Regular Reads" list is Bruce Hembd's Horndog Blog. He has helpful things to say about playing the horn, and he's very generous about introducing other horn blogs he's found. The most recent of these is Jonathan West's Horn Thoughts, and his most recent post is a nice explanation of practice technique.

I agree with everything he's saying, and especially like the phrase, "Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent."  

In the context of the previous post, he's taking a very left brain approach to the issue, i.e. taking apart any passage that has a mistake, find the error, then play it as slowly as needed to get it right and then slowly bring it up to tempo. 

Something I would add to this, though, is to be very careful when choosing the first note of the problem passage. I've often found that a mistake in one measure has its inception in the previous measure. Sometimes we can play a passage well enough, but there's something about our technique that's not solid, which is setting us up for a mistake in what follows. 

So you need the left brain to find mistakes and clean them up in a logical and analytical fashion, but the right brain can be helpful as well, helping you see the whole, and better understanding where the mistake is coming from. For example, sometimes what initially appears to be a fingering issue might really be a rhythm issue.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lyle

    Thank you for your kind comments about my article. I think that I did cover your point of criticism with regard to choosing the first note of the problem passage. I said "go back a bar or two" from the mistake in order to choose a starting point for the fragment for intensive practice, and I also suggested that once it was back up to speed, go back a bit further and try playing it in context. Admittedly, I didn't say what you should do if the problem remains when the phrase is put back into context!