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The Penny Method

 

How many times have you been making your way through your practice routine and found yourself guilty of the following:

Play, play, play, mistake, back up, play, continue (got it right!) play, play, etc....

or worse:

Play, play, play, mistake, back up, play, mistake, back up, play, mistake, back up, play, mistake, back up, play, continue (got it right!), play, play, etc...

What happened here? To begin with, you stopped and backed up. Was that part of your strategy for this session? 

The other problem is the mistake, redo, mistake, redo, got it, move on mentality. Obviously, this gives a pretty low average of success, as you are reinforcing mistakes more than the smooth performances. Here's a quick fix:

The Penny Method.

Place a stack of pennies on your music stand. Play a difficult passage. Each time you are happy with the passage, move a penny to the right, making a new stack. Happy? Move a penny. Move another penny. But what happens if you make a mistake?

Move all of the pennies back to the left and start again...

This method will do two important things:
1. Improve your average
2. Put real world performance pressure on you to get it right.

The Penny Method- do it!
JWD

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