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A walk down memory lane?

September 12, 2009 at 1:08 AM



many years ago I used to attend a dojo in London that included the study of judo.  I never partook of that particular art but I did know a guy there who was thought to be slightly peculiar.  As a beginner in judo he was only ever interested in one technique:   a relatively simple but highly impressive throw called tai o toshi.  I don`t know what his motivation was  but he obsessed about this throw and it was all he ever practiced  day and night.  He was soon left behind as a beginner in the belt rankings until one day there was an open competition with some Japanese judges.  This `beginner` turned up and plowed through a swathe of blackbelts on the basis of that one technique which was seemed  to have taken over his life.  Afterwards he was presented with a black belt by a Japanese judge who said that he had demonstrated his understanding of the spirit of judo by his willingness to  explore in depth,  practice hard and remain humble.

Now,  I have achieved yet another first. I am the first person to be bounced off the tips board by popular negative demand!  Looking back it doesn`t surprise me.  The tip itself was actually ,  in my opinion,  one of the most important disciplines a teacher should impose on the student and constantly check.   That is  if a student as learnt a piece of music it is repertoire and needs to be maintained so it can be performed at a couple of days notice.  What I ask incredulously,  is the point of learning a piece and then not using it anymore?Is that all we are doing?  A Handel sonata is something to be learnt and forgotten because we want to play the Mendelssohn?

If it is real music that both student and teacher have invested a great deal of soul searching in then the student has a responsibility to reserve this knowledge and build on it as a result of studying the Mendelssohn or whatever. Artistic growth should be reflected in all the works in ones repertoire.   So assuming one has acquired a certain proficiency and presumably performed a umber of works a certain amount of time (perhaps only half an hour)should be set aside each week and a work or two should be performed with just a few passages being repolished and perhaps recognition that an area of technique is faulty and needs work on during regular practice. Of course one cannot play through 3 concertos two sonatas and whatever in half an hour so somesystenatic record keeping and rotation is essential.  All part of te self discipline of being an effective self instructor.

I explain this point over and over to my students and I am still amazed when I ask for a piece that was played last year that I am stared at as though I was asking for an archaeological dig into the mists of time.  Obviously,  like the tips board, I am not communicating well enough;)

The connection with the opening anecdote is perhaps self explanatory,  or perhaps not....



Yellow spots are cool!


From Michael Divino
Posted on September 12, 2009 at 2:41 AM

Where would be without you, Buri? :)

From Anne Horvath
Posted on September 12, 2009 at 12:25 PM

The yellow spots remind me of school, when I methodically highlighted my way through Grout's A History of Western Music.  Good times. 

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on September 12, 2009 at 7:32 PM

 I`ts a side effect from writing in the email section.  Not sure if it`s catching....

From Bill Busen
Posted on September 13, 2009 at 1:26 AM

My tip, that was given by an experienced teacher to a student who prompty won a competition with it, and credited it, isn't doing so hot either.  It's related to your anecdote and tip, oddly enough.

I'll stop whining now...

From Royce Faina
Posted on September 14, 2009 at 6:15 PM

Tips board?

I think you make a very good point in that after learning something to maintain it!  For me, if I begin to forget a piece the lessons I learned from it began to lack also!  So I go back and work on that piece again and reinforce lessons learned.  And there is repetition for emphasis.

From Ann Marie Cordial
Posted on September 14, 2009 at 7:32 PM

Yay Royce!!!  I do the same thing...I will go back to my early violin etudes and play them as though I was in a concert hall.  I've been asked by my family members - why play those old things?  Because the old things teach me the new things!

Well, the old things make the new things easier for me to pick up,..and as an adult...I need all the "easy" I can get.

---Ann Marie

From Royce Faina
Posted on September 15, 2009 at 4:37 PM


I play them like if a concert too.... I love to play them incorporating what I have learned since the last time I played them!   Build apon them!

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