Learning a new piece
I have recently done my grade 6 Violin (still awaiting the result). For good or bad, I am starting on the AMEB grade 7 syllabus. I have to do a study and think I will do Kaysers Allegro con fuoco No 35 from studies Op. 20. This is a longer piece than I’ve done before, running to 4 pages. My question is what is the best approach to learning? Do I do 1 page at a time, learning to play it well, then move on to the next. Or do I start at the beginning and do the whole lot. The only issue with the whole lot, is I think I need to know the notes pretty well before I can speed it up and learning 4 pages at once is a lot to remember.
Do you have any strategies?
PS I don’t need to memorise the piece
Normally, I advise my students to learn larger sections at a time, but not pages, since the end of a page may not make any musical sense. And I certainly wouldn't learn a page very well before even looking at the next one. A couple days of slow working through the entire piece is a good start. Then start doing more detailed work on the first large section (the exposition of a sonata, for example) working out the fingerings and counting the tricky rhythms. When you feel you have at least a good understanding of that section, move on to the next. Don't wait for it to be perfect because you won't move on soon enough to learn in a timely manner. Good luck!
You have to work on it in a structured way of course, but to keep things fresh you can also from time to time do micro-practice, meaning take a more or less random measure or two measures, and focus on that during half an hour or so, analyzing fingerings and preparatory fingerings, string crossings, playing it cleanly, and getting it really fast.
With something like that I usually just play through it a couple of times to learn where I need to spend time. Then spend time there, on those smaller bits. Then expand around those bits so that they are in context. Then stitch it all back together so that it all makes some sense as a whole.
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