PRACTICE, from lecture by Dr. Chow, former Southwest Missouri State
A most striking conclusion of psychological investigation is that MERE
REPETITION IS NOT A CAUSE OF LEARNING.
If you perform an act perfunctorily you'll get no better. But the
moment you isolate it as a challenge to learn, and determine to do it
better - it begins to improve.
Think more than you act. Analyze as best you can what you are doing
before you do it. When you have tried it over a few times, stop and
During the process of learning make a definite effort to get things
straight. Be thoughtful. Do not be merely receptive.
There is no need to tolerate ineffectiveness in yourself. Learning is
an ART- an art to acquire by intelligent practice. Why not make a start?
- Excerpts from "Streamline Your Mind" -
One of the first things I learned in music was that if I missed one or
two days practice, I could not hope to make it up. Practice days missed or
skipped are gone forever. One must take a fresh start and the loss is
sometimes not recovered for several days.
Pupils must learn to concentrate. It is not easy to fix the mind upon
one thing and at the same time drive every other thought away. With some
pupils it takes much practice. Some never acquire it - it is not in them.
Concentration is the vertebrae of musical success. The student who cannot
concentrate had better abandon musical study.
The student should have the broadest possible culture. He must live in
the world of art and letters. The wider his range of information,
experience and sympathies, the larger will be the audience he will reach
when he comes to talk to them through his music.
The pianist with a bungling, slovenly technic, who at the same time
attempts to perform the great masterpieces, reminds me of those persons who
attempt to disguise the necessity for soap and water with nauseating
In closing, let me enjoin all young music students to strive for
naturalness. Avoid ostentatious movements in your playing. Let your
playing be as quiet as possible. The wrist must be loose. The hands, to
my mind, should be neither too high or too low but should be in line with
the forearm. - Emil
Sauer (famous Liszt pupil)
There is a detail which few students observe which is of such vast
importance that one is tempted to say that the main part of musical
progress depends on it. This is the detail of learning to listen. Every
sound that is produced during the practice period should be heard. That
is, it should be heard with ears open to give that sound the intelligent
analysis it deserves.
Anyone who has observed closely and taught extensively must have noticed
that hours are wasted by students strumming away at keyboards and giving no
more attention to the sounds produced than would the inmates of a deaf and
dumb asylum. They may achieve strong fingers, but they will have to learn
to listen before they can hope to become even passable performers.
A famous pedagogue was once asked what he considered the real goal of
"To teach the student how to practice" he answered.
"There are three rudiments of piano playing that brook absolutely no
compromise of exactness in practice. These are NOTES, FINGERING, and
COUNTING. The student must be expected to take full responsibility for
these rudiments once they have been explained, without the necessity for
having them constantly policed at his lessons". -
"We should always practice with the same devotion and concentration as
though we were sitting on a concert stage and giving a recital to a select
audience of musicians." - Foldes
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