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How to Apply Focused Practice to Music Note Reading

December 30, 2013


From the site:

9 Tips for Making Your Music Reading Easier

Now that you’re on right on track mentally and ready to tackle this whole music note reading business, here’s a few tips on how to do it effectively:

1.  Know what you want to do and where you want to go.  Is this really something you want to do?  Are you willing to make a commitment to yourself?

Until you get to this point, any effort you put into improving your music reading will be half-hearted and maybe even mindless activity.   You will never get anywhere by doing this.  Make a decision today.

2.  Find a teacher.  Teachers are able to design a system of practice for you detailing your immediate next steps.  If you are unable to hire a teacher to work with you privately, then invest in high quality resources you can practice that stretch you beyond your current capabilities.

Make sure these materials include answers that can give you immediate feedback on how you are doing.

3.  Set goals.  Decide what you are going to work on today.  These goals need to be specific and directed towards the process of reaching the end result and not the end result itself.

This means breaking everything down into small pieces and analyzing it.  How well are you doing in these areas right now?  What needs more attention?

4.  Plan.  How are you going to reach those goals?  Right down what particular parts need to be worked on and in what order.  This will give you clear direction in knowing how to get where you are going.

5.  Only work on the specific areas that need improvement.  Working on what you can do well is a waste of time.  Spend your time identifying what is deficient and create a plan of action on how to conquer those areas.

Break everything down into small chunks, analyze it, and then practice it repeatedly.

6.  Work on the weak spots diligently.  Choose one small item you need to work on and rehearse it intensely.  Make sure you are well rested and take away all distractions that will not allow you to focus.

7.  Observe yourself closely while practicing.  Step outside of yourself and monitor what is going on in your head.  Ask yourself how it’s going.  In other words, while you are practicing, think about what you are thinking about.

Am I pushing myself enough?  Have I fully taxed out my abilities in this area?  Can I move on to practicing another skill set yet?  How is this working for me?

8.  After you practice, evaluate the results.  Be specific and don’t be afraid to write it down.  You can either compare yourself to your best performance in this particular area or with an expert that has mastered it already.

Make sure you choose a comparison method that pushes you just beyond your current limits.

9.  Identify your errors.  Create a list of ideas on how to get better next time.  Make it as detailed as possible.


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