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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

Speed Up Your Learning

You may wish to learn more quickly but feel you are stuck in a learning process you don't know how to change. Here is a four point plan which may help you do so.

1. Set the stop-watch
2. Scan the music
3. Concentrate on three run-throughs
4. ...and don't forget to remember...

Self-confidence is an essential pre-requisite for setting all this in motion, as it is for any change or improvement you are considering. To help you feel more confident and make a good start choose a piece well within your ability.

1. Clocking the stop-watch
Setting a time frame quickens the pulse and does wonders for the concentration. Give yourself no less than twenty and no more than sixty minutes.

2. Scanning the music to form an overview
Choose a realistic length: the more difficult the piece the shorter the section to learn. Scan the music almost as fast as a computer scan would! Consider form, structure, texture, rhythm and tempo. Do so without playing and without going into a lot of detail. An effective scan will give you an overview and help you prioritise the next steps.

3. Concentration and the three run-throughs
Now begin playing through the piece slowly, the speed determined by your scanning. Keep your concentration at a peak. Don't answer the phone if it rings and don't engage in conversation, however tempting. Both will throw you off balance from your task. Besides, you will have to reset the stop-watch, although most likely you will have probably forgotten how long you have been at it already.

FIRST RUN-THROUGH: try to remember where you hesitate or stall. At the end of the first run-through practise briefly those phrases.

SECOND RUN-THROUGH: play at the same speed as the first run-through and try to play through the tricky passages in time. At the end practise again the difficult passages.

THIRD RUN-THROUGH: speed it up, but not a lot. Concentrate and you may to your surprise sail through the piece.

4. Remember, remember...
Part of your concentration should be dedicated to remembering what to do and not do next time round. At this stage of the learning process the fingering reflex memory is not reliable and keeps repeating the same errors unless your brain steps in, so to speak, and takes charge.

Brief pit-stop to take stock
Now relax and switch off for a moment or two. This will help you refocus on how far you have come, and to where you think you can progress in the time you have allowed yourself. You could go in various directions:
- reduce the errors or
- play more smoothly or
- memorise key phrases

Enough is enough
By the time you have reached your time deadline your brain will feel it can take no more. You may also feel exhilarated. If so, the chances are you have taken your powers of learning to a new level of speed and intensity. Congratulations.

This has been my rough guide to speeding up your learning.

January 2012

Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=985 .
© 2019.

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