The More You Know: Tackling a Tricky New Piece

Early on in the Suzuki repertoire, pieces are fairly short; their tricky passages and subsequent practice spots are readily found and addressed; and the material can be learned fairly quickly with diligent listening to the recording and practice repetition.

As one progresses through the Suzuki repertoire, however – and particularly by the time one reaches the Vivaldi Violin Concerto in A minor in Book 4 – the pieces have become significantly longer and more layered and complex in the challenges they present.  Hopefully, as the student has been progressing in technical ability they have also been progressing in practice ability, and have learned a set of skills to employ when practicing something new and challenging.

Even so, I recently came across this article, entitled How to Approach Learning a Tricky New Piece, which I thought was worth sharing.  There is certainly no one “right” way to go about tackling a piece that a student would define as “hard” when they first hear, look at, or attempt to play through it; however, this article puts forth one helpful way, which shares a lot of principles that are widely accepted (Yo-Yo Ma always insists on getting the big picture idea of a piece before diving into the details, for example).

So, this may not ending up being the way for you, but perhaps it will be a way, or inform the way that you end up crafting for yourself.

The More You Know is a publication of West County Strings, intended for the edification of students and their parents in the St. Louis community and beyond.