Monday, August 20, 2012

Practicing Slowly Part II: Make Your Piece Unidentifiable

I saw a post from my fellow member in our Yahoo Groups community, and it really got me thinking. His post said:
If a passerby can identify what song you are practicing, then you are practicing it wrong.
Ironic, isn't it? How come you are practicing something wrong when every single note from every single bar and stanza can be fully understood? You should be told that you are doing an awesome job in your violin practice because everyone knows what song you're trying to play right?



So I did a little searching and I got an interesting insight from Daniel Wood's article 6 Secrets To Unlocking Your Child's Talent and I quote: should play slow enough that a passer-by can’t recognize the song. As one coach puts it, “It’s not how fast you do it. It’s how slow you can do it correctly.”
Reason I brought this one up again is because I am so frustrated with myself because I am still stuck with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I just finished Twinkle Twinkle Variation C, D, & E, and I'm still trying to improve my intonation and bowing while someone I am following in YouTube is already on Go Tell Aunt Rhody in her Suzuki repertoire.

Itzhak Perlman's concept in slow practicing is this: if you practice slowly, you forget it slowly.  And it's true!  I can still remember the Twinkle Twinkle variations, but I cannot remember how to do Lightly Row again even though I "finished" it last year.  And that's because I set myself on a pace of finishing suzuki in just two months.

Another post shared by a fellow violinlabber is Dr. Noa Kageyama's blog post: Is Slow Practice Really Necessary?. One particular quote from the blog that I really like was his reference to his interview with Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster David Kim:
He revealed that one of the keys to his success (and building confidence as well) is super slow practice. A process of practicing in slow motion – while being fully mindful, highly engaged, and thinking deeply in real-time about what he is doing.
So next time you go for a piece, don't speed things up.  Concentrate on your bow articulation, left and right hand coordination, and intonation - one bar at a time.  If you are concerned about where the bow should be on a note on a specific stanza, then mark where the bow should be on each note.

Violin learning is a process, and patience along with focus will make your progress more enjoyable, your skills retainable, and your goal obtainable.

Good luck. Go slow. And keep it up.

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