Learning to love how we sound.
In the 1921 teaching manual “Principles of Pianoforte Practice” by James Friskin, he asserts that most students “simply do not hear all the sounds they produce”. I concur. Friskin would be amazed, I’m sure, at the technological tools available to students today, namely YouTube and phones. YouTube for inspiration, artist impression, and guidance. The phone for recording and evaluating their progress.
It would be interesting to discuss together what students continue to miss when they grind instead of plan. How they often bore themselves silly with endless repetitions, hoping for a musical miracle instead of exploring the range of interpretations on their pieces.
First level: Before practicing, listen to a professional performance. Then record yourself playing and listen back. How did it go? Jot down notes and annotate the tricky bits, like fingerings, into your score.
Second level: Before practicing, listen to a professional performance. Mark your score with notes on what you heard: Tempo changes, phrasing, articulations. All and everything you hear. Now, with the recorder going, play from your notes. Listen and analyse the results. Repeat.
Third level: Repeat level two working from a different performance/musician. Compare the different interpretations.
Sometime students don’t realize that the notation tells you what to play, but not how it goes. “How it goes” comes from experience listening to and witnessing great performances. “How it goes” also develops from our study of music history, harmony, and rudiments.
Now the hard part, learning to love how we sound. It takes a certain amount of fortitude to listen to ourselves. Especially in early music study. It can be discouraging. But push on in faith. You will be the first to hear improvement and progress in your playing. Over time you will accumulate hundreds, even thousands of practice recordings. (In 12 years of playing drums I’ve 248 Gigs of mp3 recordings) It’s fun and gratifying to hear how one sounded a decade earlier, or even last year.
If I can help you learn to practice effectively, call me.
You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
I'm a professional pianist and music educator in West Toronto Ontario. I'm also a devoted percussionist and drum teacher.