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 Pedantic practice.....
Author: willr13 
Date:   2006-08-11 18:29

Hey everyone, is it possible to be to pedantic while practicing?? I keep getting myself into a real mess, my teacher will tell me to work on something and I will go away and obsess over it and in the end the thing that wasnt a problem becomes a huge problem!? Its really affecting my playing, i still want/and need to practice but i dont want to be so.... erm 'obssessed?'

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 Re: Pedantic practice.....
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2006-08-11 20:06

Substituce "obsessive accuracy" by "artistic freedom". Listen at eg three different recordings of the same Symphony. Do they sound the same? Most certainly not. Don't overdo either - boneheaded strictness should best be left to computers, fuzziness to <genre name withheld as not to upset anyone>. You're a human, not a machine. Act accordingly. Relax.

As per "work on something" - I found out that playing passages staccatissimo really helps with my timing, ie all 1/16 notes with necessary gaps in between, ignoring slurs etc. Trains my rhythm "gut feeling" as well as my staccato. Once I have the timing in my ear, it's a lot easier.


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 Re: Pedantic practice.....
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2006-08-11 21:22

I'm not sure what's happening. Is it that a particular passage seems impossible to play? If so, there are several ways of getting at it.


Practicing is very different from performing. Your goal is not to play up to tempo, but to play perfectly. Your fingers and you embouchure and breathing muscles get trained to play difficult passages by perfect repetition, not by speed.

Use a metronome. Take the first 4 notes of the passage. Play the first note, think about what you need to do to get to the next note, make a mental movie of doing it, and then do it. Take as much time as you need. If you have to set your metronome to 42 beats per minute, then that's what you do.

Speed up gradually, and stop when you begin to make even tiny mistakes.

Practicing while making mistakes only trains your fingers to make mistakes. Never go faster than perfect.


Don't work on the complete first movement of the Weber Concerto # 2. Work on brief passages that cause trouble. Set small goals that you can accomplish in a single practice session. For more on this, read the great article at http://www.lawrence.edu/dept/conservatory/studio/oboe/practice.shtml.


When you work on a difficult passage, isolate the spots where your fingers get tangled and identify which scale or arpeggio they match.

Let's say you're having trouble playing low F#-E-D#-C#-B. You'll recognize that it's part of the B major scale. Go to your Baermann III and work slow and hard on the B major scale, until you feel, if not completely comfortable, at least confident that you know it.


I may have misunderstood your message. Perhaps when your teacher points out a problem, it suddenly seems huge, and you don't know how to calm down. If that's what it is, all I can advise is to use the same kind of method I just described. Break the problem down into small pieces, and work on them one at a time.


It's also possible that your teacher pointed out a problem that can't be broken down easily, such as uneven tonguing, or air leaking through your embouchure.

There are solutions for these kinds of problems, too. If you use the search function you'll find lots of advice on tonguing (lighten it up) and air leaks (long tones).

Let us know what your particular problems are. There are all kinds of exercises that can help.

Finally, just start playing. Play with other people, which will shift your attention from your worries to what's happening between you and those you're playing with.

Ken Shaw

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