Have you ever heard, or thought about, the phrase “I can’t do this!” when learning new repertoire? As a teacher I rarely hear it straight from the student but I’ve heard several stories over the year. Shouting and tears when it comes to learning challenging music.
Guess what the outcome is 99.9% of the time…. The student comes back the following week able to play the piece or section that was causing the issues.
I’ve been playing piano now for roughly 40 years. Fortunately I’ve been through those times. Given the right tools it’s possible to break passages down in to manageable chunks. Things we’re all taught from the first time we open a piano lid like hands separate practice. Doing things slowly.
If I had a pound for every time I’d said those things in lessons 😂.
Those 2 techniques never go away. Tried and tested and passed the test of time. What we want to avoid is practicing loads of things slowly. When working on repertoire we’re wasting time working on sections we can already play. We should really focus on the broken bits for faster progress.
Anyway, this isn’t a ‘How to Practice’ email.
Over time, students become more resilient. They discover that with some focus and perseverance they can overcome tricky passages. When I see this happening it’s one of the most satisfying things to witness.
Students building self belief is an incredible tool to help them face bigger challenges. Understanding that breaking things down in to manageable chunks helps over time.