Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's a Workbook, not a Library book

A student was having a lot of trouble with a piece in 5 flats. Out came my pencil for her to write in the usual left hand suspects. I had her write them in as she practiced hands separately.

When we finished, she looked at me dejectedly. "I feel like I just corrected my math homework and got 22 wrong out of 25."

Oh, I felt so badly.

It's hard not to feel like I should be able to play any piece correctly the first time. I know my more advanced students feel similarly. We've achieved a certain level, done due diligence, paid the "dues", so to speak. And yet I find myself needing to practice. Every day. Shouldn't there just come a time when I can sightplay anything and have it be perfect?

One of the statements I made that day to her, was that this was a workbook, not a library book. We can write all over it, and then erase it when we have muscle memory to help us remember. We also worked on the scales and chords that are in Db major.

The big message I need to remind myself is that I'm not expected to be tested on the material until I've studied it and learned it first. When I really know something, I won't need the reminders anymore. And this will be true for her too.

Here's Yuja Wang, discussing her recent CD. She still practices. She came to the Schubert Club and gave an outstanding concert. I got this CD for my bithday in the mail today! Wow, right? I am inspired.

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