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Practice around the Potholes with Preparation Points!

mucisianship practicing May 03, 2013

One of my favorite practice techniques came in handy with a student today.

The piece was “La Source” by Alphonse Hasselmans. The problem was the bar lines. Not just one bar line, most of them. The student was having difficulty getting from one measure to the next. Everything was fine at a slow tempo, but as soon as we tried to speed it up, the bar lines turned into concrete barriers.

Maybe you have experienced something like this. Much of a piece is playable, but there are some spots that always seem to go awry.

I compare this situation to driving on a road with potholes. There is one exit ramp I drive on frequently, often late at night. At the top of the ramp at the merge onto the main road, there is a pothole. It has been there for years. Still somehow nearly every time, I manage to hit the pothole, after which I yell at myself for forgetting it was there. The pothole is avoidable; all I have to do is remember it’s there, and take appropriate...

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