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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Walt Disney's Insights Into Practicing Effectively

Andrew Hitz

Who knew that Walt Disney was a practicing guru?

I frequently see students start to practice a solo or etude at the beginning of piece. That's where they tend to start the first time they play it.

And the eight time they play it. And the 18th time they play it. And the 80th time they play it...

Guess what starts sounding really good? The opening of the piece!

Whenever I have a student who is not quite prepared to play an etude in a lesson it almost invariably becomes obvious when they get to halfway through the piece. Whether that's the B section, or a difficult variation on the main melody, or a key change.

If I ask them where they kept starting when they practice, they always say the beginning of the piece.

Don't "repeat successes" by going over the music you can already play. Target specific sections that need improvement and start with those sections the next time you sit down to practice.

You will be blown away by the results in a very short period of time.