David Motto’s Practice Tip of the Week:
An Easy Memory Aid
Successful Musicians Write Notes to Themselves
Some musicians treat their sheet music like an ancient manuscript to be displayed in a museum. They keep it in perfect, pristine condition.
Sheet music is just a tool to help you learn faster. And, tools rarely stay in brand-new condition when used.
Writing in your music is one of the best ways to use sheet music to help you progress as quickly as you can. (If you can’t stand the thought of marking up your music, then make a copy for all of your written notes and keep the original in mint condition.)
Don’t read music? You’ll still find it extremely helpful to write down musical reminders to propel your practicing forward. Use a notebook, my Musician’s Practice Planner, or anything else that works for you.
What to Write Down
There are several items to write down so you have reminders that keep you on track to meet your musical goals:
1. Tough Stuff
You need to clearly define the small areas of difficult music that will need to be worked on. Use a very light pencil mark to circle these sections. Once you have mastered a section, erase your pencil marking.
2. Technical Stuff
Put in fingerings, breath marks, pedaling, shifts, positions, etc. These markings will constantly guide you as you play through your music.
Write down dynamics, emphasis marks, and any phrasing ideas you have.
When you practice, questions probably come up. Write them in the music so you can get them answered by your teacher, colleagues, or by doing your own research.
Seeing words of encouragement to yourself in your music can have a wonderfully dramatic effect when you play a song.
Jog Your Memory
All five of the above have one thing in common: They help your memory. What you write today will jog your memory tomorrow!
With these reminders in your music, your upcoming practice sessions will be much easier and much less frustrating than if you try to remember everything you did today.
So, keep a pencil on your music stand and use it frequently.
“What Do You Mean – Pencil?”
I know this week’s Practice Tip will sound old-fashioned if you are using iPads, smartphone, YouTube, and other digital tools to read music, listen to recordings, and take lessons.
Whether you’re using paper and pencil or utilizing digital charts while giving voice memos to yourself on your phone, the idea is the same:
Do not trust your memory if you want tomorrow’s practice session to be as effective and efficient as possible. We all need written notes to stay on track!
To Your Musical Success!