IMPORTANT RULES FOR MAKING MUSIC
by Maurice Hinson
[Note that Mr. Hinson does not use the word "practice"]
1. Always have a definite aim and method in your making music session.
2. Think before starting. Write it down in a little timetable planned
for the day.
3. The first time you play your piece, or any section of it, be
fanatically careful not to
make any mistakes either in notes or in time values.
4. Subdivide the piece into short sections.
5. Occasionally before your making music period by the beginning at the
last section of
the piece, then the next to last section, and so on until you have
reached the beginning.
6. " Practice very slowly; progress very fast." —- Stephen Heller
7. For the first few days of making music with a new piece, repeat one
section four to eight repetitions before beginning to practice
the next. When two sections have been practiced in this way, they
should be joined together and given two or four repetitions as a whole.
Ultimately all the sections should be fitted together in this way.
8. Resist the temptation to go on playing faster and faster. If you
have a metronome, use
it for an "external discipline" to check yourself.
9. If you feel you are not concentrating, stop and pull yourself and
inattention are both largely a matter of habit, so why not make an
effort to form the more useful one of those two habits?
10. During your making music time, free your mind from any anxiety
concerning the final
results of your efforts, either with regard to the standard or
11. Always try to approach the act of learning a new piece when you are
as fresh as
possible. Being overtired is a great hindrance to concentration. I
make music in the
12. Student brings a cassette to each lesson and takes it with him so
he/she has all of my making music suggestions. If this is not
possible, student should keep a notebook with
making music suggestions.
13. Always be on the watch for signs of staleness. This usually
reveals itself through a
lack of interest in your piece or in the presence of more than the usual
amount of inaccuracy.
14. In the earliest stages of learning anything new, the rate of
forgetting is very rapid.
Therefore the maxim "Little and Often" in the early stages of learning
is very important.
15. Sit still and sit up. Posture affects not only your audience but
also your playing.
16. Never practice if you feel irritable or annoyed about anything.
17. Do get into the habit of trying to look upon yourself as an
ordinary human being.
This means you neither set for yourself absurd and impossible stands of
achievement, not allow yourself to be satisfied with a stand which you
know really could
be and ought to be better.
18. "Think ten times and play once." —Franz Liszt
19. Count measures, not beats, if your playing is lacking in movement.
20. Think the rhythm always before starting to play.
21. Practice trills to aim for regularity before speed.
22. Listen for resonance, not noise, in loud passages.
23. Don’t work against time. If you have only one hour at your
disposal, plan 45 minutes
of making music and do the best with each minute. If you attempt a plan
for the whole
hour, you will have an eye on the clock, nervous tension that may result
tension, and much of your mental energy will be wasted. "Surround every
action with a
circle of nonhurry."
24. Go to recitals of artists and see how much you can learn. Make
notes both of criticism and appreciation, then come home and apply them
to your own making music sessions.
25. Perform always, even when sight reading. Always express something
and never "just
26. Mark the beat with your other hand.
27. Forget yourself. If you have formed a habit of concentrating on
the music in your
making music sessions, you will concentrate on it when you play in
28. To develop concentration while playing by memory: count to
yourself. It is
impossible to count every beat and think about something else.
29. Think a piece through without any playing, either with or without
30. Count out loud during your making music sessions.
31. Every pianistic problem has both its origin and solution in the
Used by permission of Maurice Hinson.
This webpage is maintained by David Barnaba
Copyright © 1995-2001 Crasheroar Computer Productions