Entries by Andrew

Rule #3 Different Perspecitves

Ask anybody whose job involves a significant amount of problem solving and one of their most important techniques is to look at the problem from as many different perspectives as possible. Sometimes it is only after taking a fresh and different perspective can we find an answer. In music learning this can take the form […]

Commandment #4 Thou Shalt Use Both Hands at all Times

As a young piano student my piano teacher insisted I learn each hand individually before I put them together. I found this very frustrating because I never felt the work I did with my hands individually did anything to prepare me for playing with both hands simultaneously. Learning to play one hand at a time, […]

Commandment #3 Thou Shalt Not Look at Thy Hands

Cognitive scientists will tell us that interrupting the visual flow if information is a significant determent to learning. Looking from the score to your hands and back to the score breaks up the information flow into your memory, creating a garbled mess. It is critical for the mastery of playing, that the fingers and arms […]

Practice Rule #2 Limited Material

As someone whose eyes have always been larger than my ability or time available, I have had to learn the value of limiting the amount of material I work on at a time. I also discovered through my cognitive psychological research that there are some pretty strong scientific reasons for limiting the amount of material […]

Commandment #2 Thou Shalt Know and Love They Beat

The most important thing in music is rhythm, the most important thing to rhythm is the beat, and the most important thing to the beat is its steadiness. I can play a familiar melody such as “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and make it completely unrecognizable by radically changing the rhythm. However, it is still […]

Rule #1 Limited Time Frame

We have all heard the axiom “A job expands to fill the time allowed.” This can be expressed differently: “Limit the time to do the work and the work may still get done.” One of the inherent flaws in the weekly lesson template we all use and grew up with is the lack of tight […]

The 10 Commandments, OK, my 10 Commandments #1

1) THOU SHALT NOT KID THY SELF. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius gives his son Laertes the advice to above all else to be true to himself. Honesty with one’s self is a lifelong process. In the world of music practice it can begin with the simple step of writing down how much you practice. Even […]

Journey Through Bach and Beethoven

I had always wanted to immerse myself into the study of large amounts of piano literature. A few years ago I quit waiting for an opportunity and committed to the opportunities I already had. I “subjected” my church to all of Bach’s Preludes and Fugues of book one and all of Beethoven’s sonatas. One of […]