My students often hear me ask, “How will you get better at this passage by the next lesson?”
The standard answer: “Practice.”
Sometimes the reply is a hesitating question: “Umm, practice?”
I ask them to elaborate. “That seems pretty generic. HOW will you practice?”
That’s where Tools in the Toolbox comes in.*
There are so many practice techniques. Just like tools in a toolbox, some are better for one task than another. For example, one musical passage may benefit from work with a metronome. Another problem could be solved by solid finger placement. Yet another piece would come to life with changes in volume and expressiveness.
As a teacher, I help students understand how to use different practice techniques and accumulate more for their musical toolboxes. Just as a good tool collection has the perfect device for every project, a good musician has multiple practice techniques for every difficult passage.
How many musical tools are in your toolbox?
* Thank you Dr. Rhoden for teaching this valuable analogy during my college years!
Dr. Grace Bauson has always loved music, and has an ever evolving interest in learning about people, nature, intentional living, and who knows what next! Her ponderings on the connections between music and other passions are humbly submitted in this blog.