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Practicing "Smart"

 One of the more interesting things to do is to motivate the youngsters (and adults as well) to practice "Smart". The ultimate goal here is to be able to play the written piece of music perfectly.

 The first step in practicing smartly is with a brand new to-the-student piece of music. Do not try to absorb the entire page at once. Depending on the age of the student, it may be as little as learning only  one or two measures at a time, then proceeding on to the next one or two measures. For more mature students it may mean learning one line at a time. The point here is it means: 1) faster learning of the music and 2) develops more accuracy in the playing of music.

For the 2nd step in practicing smartly lets just watch the hands of the average student as they play, sight reading through a piece of music they have almost learned. They start out doing fine, but on the third line a mistake is made. What does the average student do - they go back to the beginning and start all over again. They get to that third line again and are already programmed to make the mistake again, which they do. Guess what, they go back to the beginning again and start over. The problem area(s) should be marked as such and practiced in isolation to the rest of the music before the entire piece is being practiced. if this is done properly those difficult area will not be there to rise up and haunt the student in festivals and when it is being played for their piers and/or family. Another large benefit is the speed at which the student will learn the music is substantially enhanced.

Practice SMART and watch what happens. It will put the fun into your music. You"ll learn the music twice as fast and play mor accurately!