New Practice Schedule

One of the most challenging aspects of being a self-motivated self-employed musician (though I’m sure it applies to other professions) is finding time to work on your skills and keeping the love of the art. Recently I have rediscovered the passion that made me learn to play back in my teens combined with a firmer discipline and a fairly stable income from my various musical activities. My practice schedule is now a daily 3-6 hours of dedicated practice at the piano beginning with a programme working through “Rational principles of Piano Technique” by Alfred Cortot which usually forms the first hour of my time at the piano. These exercises offer a through working of the hand and finger mechanics and work the brain to gain greater control over each movement needed to play. I then bring out the repertoire I have selected for upcoming recitals and solo spots working through a single movement identifying week area and working a lot with the metronome each piece following roughly the same formula

  1. Analysis for the form/structure of the movement/work
  2. Slow reading of each section establishing a suitable fingering
  3. Hand separate work on passages that are identifies as difficult with metronome gradually increasing tempo is speed is an issue
  4. Hands Together work on coordination where required
  5. Play through with metronome (slow tempo for fast music)
  6. Gradual increase in speed
  7. Break by playing through other repertoire working on memory
  8. Repetition of small sections adding articulation
  9. Repetition with greater focus on articulation and phrasing
  10. Repetition with more focus on dynamics considering the full structure of the work
  11. Being performing the music at various tempi starting slowly
  12. Record video of my work so I can make notes
  13. Repeat steps as needed!

Throughout these steps many notes are usually made on the scores which is useful for the next day or later sessions working on this music. I also try and alternate movements each day. For instance if i’m working on two or more sonatas simultaneously I would work on the 1st movements one day then the slow movements the next. I find this succeeds in structuring my practice sufficiently to keep me on track and means no part of a work is left behind. Following work on my solo challenging repertoire I would spare some time for music needed due to upcoming other performances and rehearsal commitments which is always an enjoyable way to round off a practice session.

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