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20130107-022616.jpg Practicing is such an important and crucial part of music study. Many students, however, don’t know how to practice, or how to practice effectively and efficiently. I am constantly finding myself reminding students how to practice or what they should do when they practice. Sometimes what I have to say is so blatantly obvious to me, that I forget that students don’t always know these things, especially transfer students that are new in my studio. The following are my most frequently given tips to students to help them practice better: 1. Practice with the score – Obvious, right? You would be surprised how many students don’t do this! The most common excuse is “but I have already memorized the piece.” Well, students usually “think” they have memorized the music when they can more-or-less play their piece from beginning to end, but most often than not, they still make many mistakes. They keep practicing, but the mistakes do not get fixed? Why? They keep practicing from memory! I recently discovered that sometimes parents are the ones taking the music away, thinking the students don’t need the music anymore because “they have memorized it.” I also discovered that some students/parents think it is better to perform in a recital from memory, with many mistakes here and there, even though they can do a better job with the score. This is such a common misconception! Obviously, if one is playing in a competition or an exam where memory playing is mandatory, then one must play from memory. Otherwise, just use the score and play good, rather than try to look good by not using the score and play bad! If one wants to look good by performing from memory AND play good, then one must practice a lot, with the score! It never ceases to amaze me how many students do not realize this. A while ago I made a video on this topic so I can just direct students to the video without having to explain the same things over and over!  [···]

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