Saturday, June 16, 2007

Yesterday practiced in evening after work before heading out to L'Abri. Began page 3 of Sonata VI (not IV as I had previously written). I am working backwards on this page as I did for page 2. Starting at the end and working backwards is an interesting method for learning a piece of music. Here are possible positives of this approach:
  • As you practice, you move from unfamiliarity to familiarity. This sets up a helpful dynamic of the release of tension.
  • As you learn the measure before (or the phrase before, or page before, whatever) the last one you learned, it changes the measure that comes after. This ties in to a question I have been thinking of lately:
What makes a thing new?

Possible negatives:
  • It helps to memorize a piece this way, but it does nothing to help with the problem of focusing attention on what is coming around the corner. This quality of attention is absolutely essential, I am learning, in many aspects of music, not the least of which is improvisation. But perhaps I am wrong in saying this - perhaps it is better to envision the end and work backwards? An intersting question...
And problems one deals with in either case:
  • Fingerings may need to be adjusted in response to what comes (before/after) what is already known.
I would love to hear from any readers (if I still have or ever had any!) your thoughts on learning music backwards, or the problem of learning music in general, what is most effective, what are the tradeoffs, what principles must be upheld.

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