Summary of Method
This method is based on 7 major concepts: Hand Separate Practice (HS, II.7), Segmental Practice (II.6), Relaxation (II.10 & 14), Parallel Sets (II.11, III.7.b, IV.2.a), Memorization (III.6), Mental Playing (III.6 & 12), and Making Music (throughout book).
- Learn only musical compositions, no Hanon, Czerny, etc., but Scales, Arpeggios, and Chromatic Scale (III.5) are necessary.
- Listen to performances, recordings; it is not possible to imitate others exactly. They can only give you ideas.
- Practice old finished pieces cold (without warm-ups, III.6.g).
- When starting a new piece, sight read to identify difficult sections, and practice the most difficult sections first; then
- Practice Hands Separate, in overlapping Segments (Continuity Rule, II.8); switch hands frequently, every 5 seconds if necessary. All technical development should be done HS.
- Memorize first, HS, THEN start practice for technique; get up to speed as quickly as you can. Memorizing slowly is more difficult and time consuming. Learn Mental Playing as soon as you start to memorize, and use it to acquire Relative/Perfect Pitch (III.12).
- Use Parallel Sets to diagnose your weaknesses; cycle (III.2) parallel sets to strengthen those weaknesses and for getting up to speed quickly.
- Play the last repetition of any repeated practice slowly before switching hands or moving to a new segment.
- Practice Relaxation at all times, especially HS; this includes the entire body, including Breathing and swallowing (II.21).
- Play through mistakes; do not stop to correct it because you will develop a stuttering habit. Correct it later using segmental practice around the mistake.
- Use the metronome to check the rhythm or speed briefly (typically, a few seconds); do not use it for "slowly ramping up speed", or for long periods of time.
- Use pedal only where indicated; practice without pedal until satisfactory, then add pedal. This means no pedal until HT play is satisfactory.
- To learn HT (II.25): practice HS until faster than final HT speed; then pick a short segment, play the more difficult hand, and progressively add notes of the other hand.
- Practice musically, softly but with authority and expression. Piano practice is not finger strength exercise; it is the development of brain power and nerve connections for control and speed. Premature forte practice will prevent you from acquiring technique, speed.
- Before quitting practice, play everything you practiced (on this day) slowly for ensuring correct Post Practice Improvement (PPI, II.15), which occurs mainly during sleep. The last thing you want is to include your mistakes (especially from Fast Play Degradation [II.25]) in PPI.
End of Outline.