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a head start in music, math and life

Miss Karen

Posted by  admin  Jun 7, 2014

This is copied from Dr. Noa Kageyama.

Have you ever been frustrated by the fact that you can take a difficult passage, work on it for a bit, get it sounding pretty good, but return to the practice room in the next day or so to discover you are back at square one?  That nothing? has really changed?  And despite how good it sounded yesterday, now it sounds just as bad as it did before you worked on it?

Dr. Christine Carter is a clarinetist who teaches at the Manhattan School of Music, and did her dissertation on the contextual interference effect - a phenomenon that can help you make your daily progress in the practice room actually stick. 


The post goes on to describe this effect and is too long to quote exactly.  Let me make it short and sweet.  If you practice the same piece over and over in a row, you are not actually learning it in your brain.  The brain stops paying attention after a couple of times and then you are just playing by muscle memory.  To teach your brain so that the learning sticks you must interrupt the practice.  Only play it once or twice and then do something else.  Either play a different piece or part of the music and come back, or step away from the piano and come back to it later.  In this way your brain has to approach the complexity all over again and you will be training your brain so it remembers the next time.

Happy practicing!!!