practice accuracy...any trick and insight from you?

April 24, 2008 at 02:14 AM · This article is more proof that only perfect practice makes perfect.

But how do you practice perfect?

Replies (51)

April 24, 2008 at 02:51 AM · "We sure do learn from our mistakes, but what we learn is how to make more mistakes, new research shows. "

That's the new research. 100 years of old research and a quarter million yrs. of practical experience shows otherwise. Next question please.

April 24, 2008 at 02:47 AM · thanks laurie for your editing. you are the wind beneath our wings:)

April 24, 2008 at 02:48 AM · Greetings

>But how do you practice perfect?

Firts you ahve to be in a calm but alert mental/physical state. Be aware of the whol body. be warmed up. Without the necessray preparation of this practice will not be perfect. I would gues at least 99 percent of violinists ignore this stage.

Second, have a plan derived from clear goals which must be long temr as well as medium and short. Without goals the cocnentration is absent. I would guess 89 percent of violinists ignore this.

Third, think ten times and play once. I would guess 99.9 percent of violinists ignore this.

Fourth, stay hydrate dduring practice. I would guess 79.6 percent of violinist ignore this.

Fifth, listen to yourself. I would guess 86.3 percent of violinist ignore this.

Sixth, practice for sesisons closer to forty minutes than one hour. Most mistakes occur during the last ten minutes of an hour. I would guess 107 percent of violnist ignore this.



April 24, 2008 at 03:09 AM · But since new research shows mistakes just make us worse, after 1/4 million years of it, how can we do anything except crawl on our bellies, much less know what perfect is?

April 24, 2008 at 03:12 AM · buri, that is a cool post with bunch of truism. going to ask my kid to read it in the morning. she is going to LOL and hopefully learn something!

jim, since 99.9999% are not brain surgeons or pilots or soloists, we cruise under the radar.

April 24, 2008 at 03:27 AM · With 1/4 mil. years of mistakes behind them, how can they tie their shoes. That's approx. 2 ^1/4 mil / 18 x 365 strikes against them :)

April 24, 2008 at 03:56 AM · It’s completely truistic that Al is very much attached to the term ‘truism’ to the point that it can be seen as a technical term:)

April 24, 2008 at 04:46 AM · that`s true.

April 24, 2008 at 04:46 AM · al,

keep yer kid away from my spelling. It`s for adults only.

April 24, 2008 at 10:21 AM · "The findings should apply to other situations, including music and sports. "'Music teachers know this principle' they tell you to practice slowly,"' Humphreys said. "'If you practice fast, you''ll just practice your mistakes."'"

If you never practice fast you won't learn to play fast. Shouldn't it be more like: "Start slowly and gradually go faster, only move to the next speed step upwards once you can play without mistakes at the current level" ?!

Not saying this research is wrong, but it seems to me that the way such news articles are reported always totally and utterly sucks while most of the time missing the point. Welcome to the age of mediocrity in journalism.

April 24, 2008 at 11:03 AM · ben, i think what you are saying is essentially the same thing. to massage your ego, i will say you said it better. happy now?:)

i don't think by now scientific research necessarily will come out with ground breaking findings on a daily basis. however, there are still many gray areas to be looked at. the finding in this study imo has significant implication to a vast majority of violin students. i dare to suggest, most people practice poorly most of the time, with going too fast too early as the main culprit. this study suggests that our brain is wired in such a way that doing it wrong is not just bad, but worse.

simple illumination like this may be the basis for quantum jump for knuckleheads around me and not necessarily excluding me:).

buri, reading your post is a great parallel exercise for sight reading:)

April 24, 2008 at 12:13 PM · Al, I didn't think the article said the same thing. It generalises a lot and in this particular sentence it used "fast" unqualified as if fast was always automatically wrong. Maybe scientists being interviewed for articles have a tendency to think that the journalists they are talking to are idiots and thus make oversimplified statements, but I still think it's a journalists job to then ask back and get the scientist to rephrase.

It also says that those persons who are multi-lingual have more such tip-of-the-tongue hickups than others "because they have to sift through more words", but the article provides no backup for this, it doesn't mention whether or not the participants were split into a mono-lingual and bilingual group etc etc. The whole statement smells of having been edited in afterwards by a person which worked on computer databases, the human brain doesn't work like like that. Again very sloppy journalism.

April 24, 2008 at 12:17 PM · "Not saying this research is wrong, but it seems to me that the way such news articles are reported always totally and utterly sucks while most of the time missing the point. Welcome to the age of mediocrity in journalism."

Ben, I would love it if you can provide me with some articles that you feel are top of the line news stories. In my experience, I think news is the hardest to write, especially when you are a journalist who wishes to stick to the rules of objectivity, sensationalist avoidance, simplicity and ethics. And of course, deadlines do not help with any of the above.

The above rules of news writing is why sometimes news stories tend to be flat or bland, but I have heard of a time and occasionally seen a news article that has made me laugh or cry based solely on the writing. I would like to become that kind of news journalist, so can you dig up some examples of top of the line reporting in your opinion?

Thank you


April 24, 2008 at 12:41 PM · ben, i think you may be reading into this deeper than it is qualified for. besides, we did not see the original studies.

this is not unlike reading posts on where often i get the gist of the poster's intention even though the presentation is not necessarily going to win pulitzer prize. to me that will do:).

April 24, 2008 at 02:15 PM · @ Jasmine

"Ben, I would love it if you can provide me with some articles that you feel are top of the line news stories."

just about every article ever published in The Economist ;-)

@ Al

"besides, we did not see the original studies."

I bet, neither did the journalists who wrote that article

April 24, 2008 at 02:11 PM · It has been said: "Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice makes permanent!"

So I want to be very careful that I "mentally record" the best playing that I can do. To that end, I have a slogan that I ask my students to use as a practice guide.

Ask yourself the question: "If I played this more slowly, would I be capable of playing it any better?" If the answer is: "Yes", you are practicing too fast!...........Then, after giving yourself the benefit of repeating the passage with that highest possible level of control, work up the tempo gradually, as Buri says above, eventually including tempos that are a bit faster than you will perform it. The big question is then: "How does one know when to go to the next faster practice tempo?" For me, the answer is: "When the playing is every bit as good as it was in the previous practice tempo!" Using these practice criteria, one should realistically expect that some tempos may be left after a short while, and others will require more repetition before one is ready to go on to the next tempo. If you are stuck at particular tempo, use smaller increases of tempo.

April 24, 2008 at 02:56 PM · Burton Kaplan's "Practicing for Artistic Success" answers these questions and tells how to get around them.

April 24, 2008 at 08:12 PM · I want to address the spelling thing.( Don't repeat this to an 11 year old!)

I personally do not mind or even see words that are misspelled because for some people their train of thought will leave the station while their brain worries about spelling errors. First graders have a wonderful imagination and when they get to write without the fear of being corrected for spelling they come up with great stories. For me the thought, information is more important as far as these blogs, discussions go--

About practice-have a specific, measurable goal. "I will play the 'C' scale at 72 using 1/4 notes, 6x with 100 % accuracy."

Use a tape recorder, video camera, mirror--what ever. Just state what you want to do and do it.

I agree with small steps--setting goals.

April 25, 2008 at 02:36 AM · Oliver I heard a similar one "Practice makes habit"

If a mistake gets stuck in my mind or body, I will sometimes read the passage in tiny bits. Then if I can figure it out I try to play it backwards and then forwards. For some reason this seems to erase the mistake and I am back to a clean slate in my mind. It is no longer an automatic mistake. Strange but it seems to work.

April 25, 2008 at 02:43 AM · Mr. Steiner, I've got your slogan posted on my music stand now. Thank you so much!

April 25, 2008 at 04:51 AM · RHs and paste it all together in tiny bits, frontwards and backwards with varied rhythms.

Keeps the brain in high gear and………it's fun:-)

April 25, 2008 at 10:10 AM · "Ask yourself the question: "If I played this more slowly, would I be capable of playing it any better?" If the answer is: "Yes", you are practicing too fast!..........." now, that is what i call golden nuggets! thanks!

drew, you must make a video soon or else:) there are million reasons and RH being one!

April 25, 2008 at 12:07 PM · Hi,

Well, the research is far more complex and indicative than that article, but that is the essence. The idea is that what is remembered are patterns and processes. Like everything, the brain remembers through sequences. If there is a glitch in the sequence it remembers that. In order to remember something differently, you have to break and recreate the chain of events and repeat it enough time to replace the one that you are trying to undo.

This explains many phenomenons that occur and that frustrate people. A classic example... Someone practices a difficult run and finally gets it. Assuming that he goes even the right step further and makes sure he can get it right ten times in a row with no errors. The person then plays the passage and screws up in the same place. Why? Because the brain remembers the glitch in the sequence. So what do you have to do: once the basic run is done, you have to get the whole passage programmed correctly from beginning to end, many times in a row. And the the whole piece so that the sequence works from beginning to end without a glitch.

Next off, many people forget that memory is a choice. You have to force yourself to never allow yourself to forget anything. Too many people don't make the effort to actively remember.

So, how does this affect practicing? To add to what Buri said...

People don't fix the true things first like errors in movements (physical) or setup, or concept, or mental/psychic state and as a result, are not in a state to actually learn correctly. Secondly, most people don't think of the actual components of a problem - example, not figuring out what intermediate notes are in every shift, where the hand is going, and making sure that the intermediate note is in tune in the shift every time it is practiced. You don't do that and your hand will never know where it is going, you won't remember what you did and it will never be reliable. People also work too often at the micro rather than the macro level. It is easier to remember one thing that encompasses many, than many small seperate things.

These are just examples, but in order to break a mistake, you have to break the chain of events/thinking at the earliest link and create a new one. Only then can one remember something new.

Some early morning thoughts on this fascinating topic...


April 25, 2008 at 12:15 PM · excellent, christian.

looking at my kid and other younger ones, i have noticed that one key element missing (that make them go through the wrong sequence) is patience. imo, it takes not only understanding but patience to develop and stick to the correct routine. something that takes 10 time to get it down usually get treated only 3 times because on the third time, it already sounds "good" and we have things to do, places to go...

April 25, 2008 at 01:12 PM · Yes al,

As a parent of young kids, I agree with the patience part. It take maturity and it also depends on their personalities. I think for young kids, girls tend to acquire the maturity part earlier than boys. Young boys are (in general) rougher, more impatient. I have 2 boys..ha ha!

April 25, 2008 at 01:17 PM · here is something about pride and punishment dealing with my kids:). since violin is not our forte, i will talk about golf and hopefully some may find some parallels that can be of use.


my 2 kids play competitive golf and to any golfer one thing that can always improve is putting, that is, rolling the ball into the cup to finish the hole. to many people, even ones who have played for a long time, to drive the ball as far as possible has a natural sweetspot in people's heart rather than minimizing the number of putting strokes, even though both are counted equally as strokes. you get the same score of 4 whether it takes you 3 strokes to get on the green and one putt into the hole or 1 stroke onto the green and 3 putts.

so this past winter we made some arrangement to focus on putting. instead of preaching them the importance of putting which i have done for years creating no sparks, i put a large piece of paper on the wall near the front entrance of the house so everyone walking by can see it. on there, each kid get to write down the highest number of consecutive 6-ft putt to date. in the very beginning, they made 5-10 putts in a roll and then missed, as expected. with practice, with the incentive to associate a good number to their names for everyone to see, they worked on it with a different level of energy and interest. by the end of the winter, their putting swings became smoother; the older one scored a 127 one time and the best one for the younger one is 95. the older one said that sometimes after making about 50 in a roll, her head started to spin and she just had to find something to hang in there. pride?:)


another problem with people is that when putting to a hole in a distance, the natural tendency is to end up shorter instead of longer than the hole. i guess human beings think it is safer to inch up to the hole rather than stroking hard enough to take a chance. problem is: short putts have no chance to go in, longer shots have a chance. but it is very difficult to overcome this protective, play- for- safe instinct.

so we deviced a game where when the 2 compete for a lower score. everytime you miss short, you are penalized with one extra stroke and everyone time you miss long, it is ok. in about 2 weeks of time and practice, their mindsets were reset. fear of losing can be a good incentive:)

April 25, 2008 at 03:17 PM · Al, something I have noticed when practicing the violin is the opposite of your golfing too-short scenario:

When crossing strings from E to A I tend to overshoot just a little so that the bow briefly touches D, not always, but often enough to identify it as a work-to-do item. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to think of a mental counter measure like your better-overshoot-than-short exercise. From your description, golfing may indeed be easier to improve on than on playing the violin.

April 25, 2008 at 03:53 PM · ok ben, here is one for you:)

do 100 crossings every day from E to A in a setting and ask someone else to count/check for you, to see how many bump into D. or you tape yourself. for every "hit", you do 10 sit-ups as reward or punishment depending on your perspective. if you miss 15, that will be 150 sit-ups.

lets see how fast you learn. just think how those abdominals burn, man!

ps, are you absolutely sure your string spacing and bridge shape is right? and that you incorporate a healthy amt of wrist action instead of shoulder?

"From your description, golfing may indeed be easier to improve on than on playing the violin",,,no comment:)

April 25, 2008 at 03:41 PM · So,Al,does it mean even if you practiced a passage 3 times and it sound good,you should continue practicing 7 more time?

April 25, 2008 at 03:51 PM · if i were a serious violinist in training, i would leave no stone unturned. there is a saying on the wall of harvard library,,it goes,,this precise moment that we are talking, someone else is working hard. probably similar lines in juilliard bathrooms.

April 25, 2008 at 04:06 PM · Let's say that I have 7 pieces and 7 days,each day 2 hour to practice,which way of practicing will be more effective:

-Practice 7 pieces each day for 7 days.

-Practice piece 1 on day 1,piece 2 on day 2 and so on.

April 25, 2008 at 03:55 PM · Haha, Al, nice try, unfortunately it doesn't happen when I do just string crossings, it doesn't happen when I do scales, it doesn't happen with any repetitive exercises, only occasionally when playing pieces.

My violin setup is fine. I have asked my teacher to watch out for this and tell me if she can see any particular reason, but she says that I am not doing anything essentially wrong, that bow control is the most difficult part of playing the violin taking longer to acquire than any other aspect, that I have to be patient.

What I do for now when it happens is play the passage in slow motion treating every motion as a separate action and speak aloud what I am doing, like "G" "cross" "D", then repeat that over and over again. This technique has helped me to play cleaner but it is not exactly right for not-overshooting because the action "cross" doesn't have "don't overshoot" embedded in it. I have tried "low angle cross" but that is a little too long, it works best if you have only one word for each step. Also, negatives don't work, for example "don't overshoot" won't work because it only reinforces the overshooting. Anyway, like my teacher said, I'll have to be patient.

April 25, 2008 at 04:18 PM · juda, i understand what you are saying, but not knowing you and since i am not a teacher, it is tough for me to suggest anything. having said that, i was thinking about something on that line recently. for instance, with my kid, lets say she has 7 problems and 7 days to be back to the teacher. i know for her, it is much more effective to deal with one problem in depth each day, instead of giving 1/7 time/attention to all 7 problems each day. with the latter, it is tough for her to build any carry-over.

it is like just when she is about to get it, the class bell rings and she is like: i'm outta here!

ben, let's face it, you are scale type of a guy, not piece type of a guy;), just kidding. i guess a sensei would say, treat your pieces like your scales then:), pretty much like what you are doing.

April 25, 2008 at 04:38 PM · Benjamin K wrote: "When crossing strings from E to A I tend to overshoot just a little so that the bow briefly touches D...."

I would suggest practicing: E slurred to E&A together. Then E slurred to E&A together, slurred to A alone, all in one bow. Then E slurred to A alone. Each time you play E alone, try starting on the A string side of the E.....This way, the small movement that you'll do, to take you from E to A string, will not have so much torque on it as to take you past the A string, to the D string! Try to rotate gradually from string to string..........Ysaye said: "Bow in curves, not lines" (No right angle string changes.) Dont, Op 37 No.3 is a nice study in smooth, gradual string changes.

April 26, 2008 at 01:52 AM · Sometimes our focus becomes too intense in practicing and the repetitions, however well-intentioned, become automatic and little problems can creep in again. I find it always advisable to know what you are aiming to do before you do it, have a clear visual and kinesthetic sense of the movement you wish to make and hear the sound (whether it involves focusing on a rhythm, bow change, string crossing, shift, what have you) in your head. The voice is often very useful with which to integrate pitch, rhythm, and dynamics. One does not have to have a voice like Pavarotti, but just the idea of hearing yourself pace your crescendo or diminuendo, or hearing the pitch and saying the rhythm can help focus the brain so that the fingers, hands, and arms are predisposed to feeling ready to make the appropriate movements. It's important to experience the efficient physical movement slowly so your brain understands what to tell the body to do. This is often hard for younger students ( and more than a few older ones as well) who are so eager to jump into the pool, so to speak, before checking if there's any water in it, but part of maturing as a good practicer is learning to slow down and concentrate to avoid the mistakes. I am not one who believes that once a movement is learned incorrectly it must take a long time to deprogram. I find it really depends on the personality and the intellectual fortitude of the individual. In every instance corrections should be made with the least physical effort and with calm mind. Helping train oneself and one's students to have a calm center and not be judgmental and too quick on the attack is a healthier way to develop a positive atmosphere in the lesson as well as in the practice room. I recall one colleague who accepted his occasional mishaps by simply stating that he played notes from other pieces by mistake. We must be forgiving of our human imperfections. Just a couple weeks back, I was working with a student who had imposed a deadline on herself to memorize a piece of music and have her pitches in tune with stable rhythm and straight bow and good dynamics. She was frustrated with herself that in her effort to try to control all these things she couldn't get through one measure without something going wrong. We reviewed the physical movements and her understanding of the pitches, rhythm, bowings, and dynamics, and ended the lesson with her promise to herself to just allow the process to unfold without worrying about how far she was progressing in the piece. Sure enough, the next week she came in able to play at moderate tempo all the way through with but one or two mishaps. It was important for her to take away the self imposed pressure and observe and experience that by being deliberate and focused but calm and clear headed, she would get much further. Our attitude and spirit with which we enter into and engage in practicing is all important.

April 26, 2008 at 03:41 AM · Ben,

Oliver hit it right on the mark!

You could also say "close" for "cross," as you know you are changing strings.

April 26, 2008 at 04:07 AM · "Benjamin K wrote: "When crossing strings from E to A I tend to overshoot just a little so that the bow briefly touches D...."

In addition to what Oliver said, I remember playing many of this kind of exercise. Say open G and E on the D string, alternating those two notes, say 16 notes to a bow, using the whole bow, then then F#, etc., then moving to the the D and the A string pair, and so on. Both upbow and downbow. I don't know what it was; maybe Schradieck. With a little of that under your belt there'll be little to no chance of you accidently hitting an adjacent string. Even though you're talking about a few millimeters! You won't have to even think about it. It does all feel like little circles and curves, not angles. To help matters, the bridge top should be cut to match an arc part of a large circle whose radius I can't recall. Phase two would be skipping strings, separate bows.

April 26, 2008 at 06:06 AM · Greetings,

>Let's say that I have 7 pieces and 7 days,each day 2 hour to practice,which way of practicing will be more effective:

-Practice 7 pieces each day for 7 days.

-Practice piece 1 on day 1,piece 2 on day 2 and so on.

None of the above,. Ther importnat thing to recognioze is it is the rpetitioin of experioence that os most effective so a littl eeverydya is better than once eveyr other day or once a week, heaven forbid. If one is trying to practice that many pieces then soemthing is wrong with your organization but assuming you were doign somekinfd of recital basiclaly you would need to work out a program where everythign got playe dthrough once a day and then once or two pieces would have more detialed work and then the next day maybe someothers. It would have to be organized by keeping a pracitce diatry and haivng very clear goals.



April 26, 2008 at 06:27 AM · "I would suggest practicing: E slurred to E&A together. Then E slurred to E&A together, slurred to A alone, all in one bow. Then E slurred to A alone..."

Neat idea. I will do that. Thanks a lot.

April 26, 2008 at 06:32 AM · "... open G and E on the D string, alternating those two notes, say 16 notes to a bow, using the whole bow, then then F#, etc., then moving to the the D and the A string pair, and so on. Both upbow and downbow. I don't know what it was; maybe Schradieck."

I do similar exercises from Sevcik, but as I said, the overshooting doesn't happen during those exercises, only when playing pieces. Interestingly it only happens when crossing from E to A, not with other crossings. I think it may have to do with the angle I am bowing when I play on the E string alone, I'll have to watch that and see if I can reduce it so as to minimise the movement when crossing. Oliver's suggestion would seem to be going in that direction. Anyway, thanks again for the tips.

April 26, 2008 at 07:50 AM · get a korg metronome that goes to 20bpm

do things so slowly that you could do them asleep, with PERFECT technique in both hands

do each repitition 20-100 times at each beat will have it learned by the time you get to tempo...and don't practice big sections. the end

also practice scales for like 2 hrs a day religously with etudes for bowing and fingerings as well as supplemental relax etudes (dounis, some flesch etc)

April 26, 2008 at 11:50 AM · thanks ron for the excellent post. concur that different students may benefit from different regimen.

May 8, 2008 at 01:15 AM · About twenty-five years ago I took on this engineering project. It was the first time I had complete freedom and no supervision. I made every mistake I can conceive of, of every kind. People lost a tremendous (relatively) amount of money, a guy got visited by thugs (unharmed), and you name it. But in retrospect, it was tremendously beneficial to me. It was like I had made every mistake possible, literally, and rarely if ever made any of those mistakes again. I frequently taught what I'd learned from it; usually in the form of "Never [fill in the blank]" or say "Don't have anything riding on changing the way people do business" and so on. Took a few years for the experience to assimilate into what it became though. I had one teacher who said "mistakes are a downright positive thing." True, in terms of their net value spread out over time, I think.

May 8, 2008 at 12:25 PM · concur with jim's thesis. preferrable to make as many mistakes early in life as possible. many find mistakes to be better teachers than teachers because of shock value:)

May 8, 2008 at 02:35 PM · My teacher keeps reminding me that learning to play better at any level is cumulative. A whole buch of little things eventually add up to progress.

May 8, 2008 at 02:48 PM · Fearing of making mistake could be one of the biggest mistakes one can make. I once had a very smart but bossy boss who made her new employees to feel that they can be stupid for no more than the first month, and after that they had to be smart. To her, being smart meant making no mistakes. The result was everyone kept making more and more mistakes and felt so stupid they eventually all left.

Is it too much to say to live is to err and to learn from err?

Some of us have to learn through mistakes in certain areas of life – you kinda want to try it out yourself so that you know what it is that all about and more importantly why.

May 8, 2008 at 02:52 PM · Yixi, easy workaround: leave and rejoin the company, then repeat every month ;-)

May 8, 2008 at 04:34 PM · Yixi, I worked somewhere like that too once. I'm not sure if the time frame was the same, but over time the atmosphere in the company became one of having to avoid errors, or at least having to pretend to avoid errors and/or hide errors.

After I left I noticed a remarkable contrast in my new workplace, where the culture was much more oriented towards admitting errors, owning up, discussing and learning what you could from them, and then moving on without wasting time on placing blame. It was a much healthier environment and everyone was happier to work there. And, not surprisingly, even the overall level of the research was higher.

May 8, 2008 at 05:43 PM · Al,

Interesting article but not too surprising.

I have given this a lot of thought regarding violin as very often issues in our daily life manifest in our music practice. The above posts are really great. I think if we go back to our favorite topic "prodigy" versus "sevante" we can get a clue. (PLEEZE...I don't want to get into the prodigy debate) The child who from birth has an awareness, or is conscious of their abilities and goals is is extraordinarily rare. Individuals can be sevantes yet not be conscious of their ability or assign much value to it. Yet both seem to execute tasks perfectly. How are they different? So for myself I have decided that consciousness in the form of an "awareness", is required to identify and address areas for improvement ("mistakes"). As Oliver describes, "recording" in your mind the patterns athat repreesnt the best way shows an awareness that seems to be a requirement when working toward mastery.

If you are not aware you are doing something incorrectly, can you be responsible to improve it? That is where a good teacher fits in. Do you agree? I think of mastery as an onion with no core, just more and more levels of refinement. Better and better "mental recordings" if I may use Olivers metaphor. If you are ignorant of your mistakes then you can never improve. The mistakes become habits of mind and body. Ignorance is not bliss in this case. It isn't even much fun. I work teaching in areas unrelated to music and see much the same patterning of mistakes as described. Regards.

May 8, 2008 at 07:00 PM · J, great post and absolutely agree, esp the last part where often people are "perfectly happy" with poor techniques or wrong direction because making changes takes effort or even courage, not to mention wisdom from great teachers. besides, allowing others to see you sweat is not cool:)

i have always considered prodigies as either facades created by parents with associated mental disorder or true geniuses with associated mental disorder. a more interesting and practical approach is to deal with regular kids in every home, to bring about or elevate their level of "awareness" and nurture self initiative. for parents, it is an investment with sweat and headaches, and the process itself of seeing development is worth all the effort.

May 9, 2008 at 05:50 AM · Love this thread, so I'll try to contribute.

Here is what Josef Hampl taught me about this, as closely as I can remember it.

1. One mistake is enough to know that a passage needs work: there is no need to repeat the mistake.

2. Then you analyze the difficulty and devise exercises that are easy, but when put together will solve the problem.

3. With these exercises under your hat, play the original passage again. If you can, end of problem, if not, go back to 1 (and don't collect, yet).

One nice thing about this approach is that it gives you the experience that violin playing is easy, because the exercises that you spend most time on are not too difficult.

I should use this method more.

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