Practice Club Wrap-Up, January 21st 2021 - Learning Multiple Pieces

Andrew spoke today on the topic of learning multiple pieces.

a) Learn small ‘chunks’ of one piece per session and learn it well! Up to 70-80% proficiency

b) In practicing a second piece, get it to a similar proficiency, then spend perhaps 10-15 minutes on the first piece

A very interesting point Andrew mentioned was that if you learn one piece at a time you may actually learn slower than if you learn two or three pieces at a time, because the brain can not only handle more than one, but the variation in the pieces helps cement the learning. (Gotta keep the brain happy!) Also, the brain tires and is less efficient after around 30 minutes so it’s good to take breaks, or perhaps stagger the practice session over the course of the day.

In summing up, Andrew suggested learning pieces by overlapping them in the following way:

In this example, you are learning 3 pieces:

a) learn half the first piece and half the second piece
b) go back and learn the rest of the first piece, then half of the third piece
c) go back and learn the rest of the second piece, then return to learn the rest of the third piece

A micro (close scrutiny) view and macro (viewing the whole as from a distance) view can also help in learning pieces.

Learn up to 3 easy pieces at the same time over the next month and report on any progress/queries at Practice Club.

As to how difficult a piece to learn, Andrew noted a piece shouldn’t take you longer than a couple of weeks. If you can’t learn 2 bars in a session the piece is probably too difficult for you. Choosing a simpler piece will enhance your learning and enable you to progress to the more difficult pieces with a confident mindset.