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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

A Practise Session In Three Parts

Warm Up, Step Up, Smooth Play – the keys to feeling and sounding good

The three parts of a practise session are the warm up, a technical work-out, and learning pieces - in that order.
There is a smooth transition between each of these. You can slide gracefully into the technical work-out from the warm up. You can link the second and third stages by playing difficult extracts from pieces. The problem is you may be tempted to give the exercises a miss and go straight to the final stage, although you are unlikely to go back to doing them after you start on the pieces.

Let us imagine then that you are nicely warmed up and poised on the edge of the chair uncertain whether to launch hell-for-leather into a three-octave scale, or into the smooth soulful harmonies of the piece you are learning - which way to jump? What could induce you to delay the gratification of playing in favour of a technical work-out?

The Step Up
Think of a technical work-out as a journey of discovery, a push at the boundaries of the impossible, a creative effort in devising exercises, your very own exercises, however brief. They could be a development and more demanding version of the warm up itself. Moving on seamlessly from the warm up to the technical exercises and studies you could find yourself gradually raising the stakes of difficulty and challenging yourself onwards and upwards.

By making the technical work-out interesting you will not be so likely to skip it altogether. You will avoid mindless repetition, which leads nowhere. You will embrace thoughtful enquiry and innovation. You will observe, reflect and experiment: three important pillars of self-improvement. Once this new spirit pervades your technical development, it will be a step up in every way, so let's call it that: The Step Up.

Smooth Play
The Step Up can become an interesting part of your practise session. Listen carefully and become creative. Experiment. As a consequence you may hear yourself improve more quickly. In its midst, a technical aspect may remind you of a difficult sequence or passage from a piece you are learning. Proceed to practise and play that sequence and surrounding phrases in the piece. You are now gliding (effortlessly, I hope) into the third stage of your practise session: learning and playing pieces.

Warmed up and thoroughly stepped up, you move on to play through all the piece for your delight. Build up to it and enjoy. When it goes well it will sound smooth and feel good. Let us call it Smooth Play.

Think of the three stages of a practise session as warm up – step up – smooth play.

You can transit the first two in just a few minutes if you so wish. After that, you may linger in the land of Smooth Play for as long as you like, unless you can think of a better place to be.

Read more from my previous blogs:

The Five Minute Warm-Up
Posted Saturday 8 Oct 2011

Guitar practise: brain rules all
Posted Saturday 29 May 2011

How to makes the best of a 30 minute practise session
Posted Saturday 8 May 2011

October 2011

Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=799 .
© 2019.

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