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Order of practicing pieces (Read 575 times)

Offline determined2learn

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Order of practicing pieces
« on: July 07, 2021, 09:47:04 PM »
When you have a number of pieces in various stages of learning, what order do you practice them? I'm kind of all over the place. Do you feel it matters? My thought (and personal experience) is to do the newest piece first while my brain is fresh then work on one giving me trouble at the time (or the parts giving the trouble).


Sometimes I find I have to want to work on a piece instead of always sticking to a set plan.


Thanks for your feedback.

Offline j_tour

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Re: Order of practicing pieces
«Reply #1 on: July 08, 2021, 01:34:16 AM »
Sometimes I find I have to want to work on a piece instead of always sticking to a set plan.

Well, that's laudable.

I find for me I get a bit "burned out" on a given piece after too much focus. 

The exception might be a shorter piece which I can trust my subconscious to focus upon during, for example, sleep or other rest periods.  Then, I don't do anything, just trust the discipline and focus.

As for the order?  Yeah, I divide things into "maintenance," "learning," "almost," "memorized through nn bars and just free reading.

Not in those exact terms, but more or less.
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Offline ranjit

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Re: Order of practicing pieces
«Reply #2 on: July 08, 2021, 05:15:53 AM »
Right now, I'm quite impulsive in this respect as well. The only constant is that I try to see the whole piece as soon as possible -- earlier this meant memorizing it fast but now I'm also trying to improve my sightreading. The subconscious consolidates memory of the piece over time, but it needs to be there in the first place.

Offline lelle

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Re: Order of practicing pieces
«Reply #3 on: July 08, 2021, 10:23:01 PM »

Sometimes I find I have to want to work on a piece instead of always sticking to a set plan.


I'm like this and I still survived doing a bachelor's and master's in music. It'll probably not take me to any big concert hall. And I think that's totally fine. If doing it the perhaps objectively better way makes you miserable, then what's the point? Life is too short to not be enjoyed. Sacrifices can be made for the things you find truly meaningful. At least that's what I think :)

Offline antune

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Re: Order of practicing pieces
«Reply #4 on: July 10, 2021, 12:17:26 AM »
My thought (and personal experience) is to do the newest piece first while my brain is fresh then work on one giving me trouble at the time (or the parts giving the trouble).

I prefer practicing technically more demanding pieces earlier while being physically fresher.

Offline jimf12

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Re: Order of practicing pieces
«Reply #5 on: July 14, 2021, 01:44:27 PM »
I think it was in the book The Musicians Way that I read advice to vary when you practice pieces, and that is what I have been doing.   I basically let my mood of the day dictate the order.    I found that if I was following a certain order, say starting with the most technically demanding pieces and ending with maintenance work, there were days I wasn't mentally ready to start with the demanding pieces.    Some days you want desert first, and I think your frame of mind being in your work is more important then say being fresh for the demanding work.   

Just my opinion of course, I doubt there is a correct answer.     

The only exception to this is I do technical work first - scales, arpeggios etc.. - first thing in the morning.   

Offline determined2learn

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Re: Order of practicing pieces
«Reply #6 on: July 14, 2021, 06:43:41 PM »
Yes, I agree, personal preference. I discovered if I do the new stuff later in the practice my brain is already fatigued and I don't get as much out of the practice.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Order of practicing pieces
«Reply #7 on: July 14, 2021, 07:17:29 PM »
I think it was in the book The Musicians Way that I read advice to vary when you practice pieces, and that is what I have been doing.   I basically let my mood of the day dictate the order.    I found that if I was following a certain order, say starting with the most technically demanding pieces and ending with maintenance work, there were days I wasn't mentally ready to start with the demanding pieces.    Some days you want desert first, and I think your frame of mind being in your work is more important then say being fresh for the demanding work.
I agree with this. I find it very useful to just dump the pieces I want to learn into my head along with tentative deadlines. The mind often intuitively figures out a plan on how to proceed. I think at the highest levels, you need to work with your mind, instead of trying to make it conform to a schedule. Schedules, except for vague outlines, aren't conducive to creative thought, imo. You need to find optimal ways to get into the zone and how to get bouts of concentrated effort, the amount of rest which works for you, how long pieces take to learn and why, try to figure out what your subconscious is doing in the background so that you know the extent and nature of post practice improvement, and so on.

Online lostinidlewonder

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Re: Order of practicing pieces
«Reply #8 on: July 14, 2021, 10:25:01 PM »
When you have a number of pieces in various stages of learning, what order do you practice them? I'm kind of all over the place. Do you feel it matters?
It depends how much "a number of pieces" represents. Some people take on new work because they get bored with their pieces thus they have a large handful of half finished projects and are perpetually in a "work in progress" state. This is generally quite a bad situation to be in because in general you want to complete projects you begin. I really don't think there is any other way about doing it, if you don't complete projects and simply add more work to avoid it it is just a poor attitute towards work.

It also depends on how you want to work. A professional who works with deadlines or someone who just wants to practice/play when they want to or are inspired to do so. This is not to say you need to be pro to work in a pro manner. You should be able to measure the time required to complete works then you can order your work efforts in a way that suits you.
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