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  • Noa Kageyama

    October 2, 2022 at 4:46 pm

    Hi Martin,

    Ah yes, when I say “excerpt” in the course, it’s a reference to an orchestral excerpt, for folks who are doing orchestra auditions. These are selected chunks of music that the orchestras want to hear at auditions, and are essentially standardized selections of various orchestral works that instrumentalists (and some pianists) will often spend years, if not decades working on.

    I think the paper clip method could work – but a couple tweaks might be worth considering.

    Tweak #1: For the purposes of interleaved practice, if it’s a piece that you feel somewhat comfortable with, and you’re past the stage where you’re trying to get the notes into your fingers, I think it might be helpful to select larger chunks of music for each interleaved segment. Like one chunk from the beginning of the piece, another chunk from the middle, and another chunk from the end. Or chunks from three different pieces, or different movements of the same piece. The idea being, if you’re working on different lines in the same section of the piece, the technical demands of each line might be similar enough that it doesn’t actually cause much “contextual interference.” This is not a great analogy, but it would be like eating three different pastas with the same sauce, instead of rotating between a pasta dish, tacos, and Indian food, for instance. Does that make sense?

    Tweak #2: Going back to the paper clip method, I might be interpreting your description too literally, but another thing that might be worth trying is, even if you’re going to practice line by line, I’d suggest breaking your practice chunks up into meaningful phrases rather than lines. That will help even when it comes to memory, and even if you don’t play from memory, this will help to ensure that what comes out in your playing will sound a little more like one phrase connecting to the next. Instead of your brain thinking of one line, and then the next line, etc. It might even help to use colored pencils to color in phrases for yourself, so your brain starts thinking in terms of these structurally meaningful chunks, instead of lines.

    Hope that helps!


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