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 deadlines.

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 morning.

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 work or 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 in muscular 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 run through."

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 public.

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 the music.

30. Count out loud during your making music sessions.

31. Every pianistic problem has both its origin and solution in the music itself.

Used by permission of Maurice Hinson.
This webpage is maintained by David Barnaba
Copyright © 1995-2001 Crasheroar Computer Productions