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Discover Your Best Practicing!

In the words of my wonderful college pedagogy teacher

renowned pedagogue/pianist Sophia Gilmson:


Good technique starts with the posture and shoulders, not with the fingers.

Beautiful sound starts before we touch the keys.

The sound is prepared in our inner hearing, our imagination, and intention to produce a certain tone.

Only if first prepared, it might happen. Or not. 


A convincing interpretation is rooted in a sense of flow.

Sense of flow is rooted in having the direction.

Where does this phrase go? Where does it peak?

Where does a group of phrases peak? Where does the entire section peak?

Where does the whole piece peak?

Very much like in hiking, the direction is a must.

Otherwise, it does not flow, it is wandering.

A routine is essential for progress! Work with your family to find the best days to get your practicing in. Use a calendar to write in the actual days/times you will practice.

Organize your practice into sections. Use a timer or clock to keep track of the time.

Follow the instructions I've given you in your practice notebook.

Quality over quantity! If you have a couple of days where you are super busy, plan on a few practice snacks for those days. Even 10 minutes will make a big difference! A snack could be a very short passage you've been trying to get into your fingers, or a wrong note you're trying to get rid of. Perhaps a tricky rhythm you've consistently miscounted?

Technique issue? Try working on the scales and chords in the keys of your piece to polish your technique.

Rhythmic issue? try using the metronome. Subdivide!

Try the +one or starting from the end of the piece working backwards. 

Memorization trouble? Work in small sections, with actionable goals in mind!

Start early – don't wait until the last minute.

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