Do you really know what you know?

So do you really know the piece you’re learning or playing at the moment?

I mean, do you think about what you’re practicing.

Well, I don’t mean that actually. I mean more like HOW you’re practicing.

Do you know exactly which are the trouble spots in a particular piece you’re playing?

How are you working through those trouble spots?

Is the method or methods you’re currently using to work it out getting the results you’re after?

Do you know what the results are that you’re after? Definining that and being quite sure about how you want things to sound, or feel, or be phrased is a big step towards a solution to a tricky spot.

Having defined that, are the methods you’re using to work through  tricky spot really working or do the same issues keep cropping up each time you come to practice? Perhaps they’re not really working, or have reached their natural limit.

If a solution is not working or giving us the results we want,then it’s time to  take a different perspective and look at what is really going on; start deconstructing things.

Do you really know what you’re playing in that spot? Chances are you’re probably reasonably aware of the left hand fingering and where things are moving in that regard. This is where we have a tendency to focus our “what are my fingers doing” knowledge.

What about the right hand?
Do you really know which right hand fingers you’re using for that spot?

Are they the best fingers to be using? Are there potentially easier alternatives to be using? Think about where your fingers are coming from – what are you playing preceding the particular section you’re working on?

And where are you moving to? Does the fingering you’re using set you up for a fluid transition into the next phrase or bar?

Are you consistently using the same fingering? Knowing that you’re rocksteady in your fingering and approach will eliminate those elements of doubt and the micro-seconds of umm ing and ahhing during a performance.

Really knowing both you left and right hand fingering really allows you the freedom to just play, forget about the technique and enjoy it, safe in the knowledge that it’s going to happen as planned. Well, that’s the theory anyway!

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