"Think Ten Times and Play Once." These are famous words from the renowned pianist and pedagogue Theodor Leschetizhy. Leschetizky was born in Poland in 1820 and was the head of the piano department and one of the founders of the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music. In 1878 he settled in Vienna and began teaching there. Promising pianists flocked to him and he created one of the most eminent private piano schools in the world. Stopping Practice is a practical approach to incorporating Leschetizky's saged advice into your daily piano practice.
Stopping Practice Formula
Divide the music into phrases (they are quite often 4 bars in length). Working one phrase at a time, apply the following threefold ritual:
- Begin with a PLAN. Mentally rehearse the phrase at a slow tempo (not flashed through in a second).
- Next PLAY the phrase.
- The final part is to JUDGE. Stop and put your hands on your lap, if it helps. Reflect on how you played. Criticize yourself and be sure to include both the positive and the negative. Consider all sorts of questions, for example, were the rhythms, notes, and fingerings, etc., correct?
At times, the desire to try the phrase over again is irresistible. Do not surrender to this violent temptation. Stop and take the necessary time for reflection. To illustrate, strive to emulate a golfer player rather than a hockey player – “address the ball”. Remember, the pause must be at least as long as the phrase to come. By using the stopping practice method you will experience less frustration and the final performance product will be more secure. In addition, the amount of time invested in producing this product will be significantly reduced.
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