One Week Study

A one week study can help motivate you and make a refreshing change to your usual music practice routine. I use the one week study with my students around once every 8 - 10 weeks, as long as it is a suitable time.

We all feel a little jaded at times, although thankfully being involved in music those times are very few and far between! One way to reinvigorate your playing is to take a week off. Yes! Not a week off practicing your instrument of course! A week away from your usual pieces.

Doesn't that mean my normal pieces suffer?

Surprisingly not! Just because a we aren't practicing a piece on our instrument, it doesn't mean our mind isn't working subconsciously on the music in some way. I'm not suggesting weeks and weeks of no practice are a good idea! In fact, although fun and challenging the one week study is a hard, but rewarding, week's work. You will be surprised at how much a week doing something else improves your practice of your normal pieces when you go back to them. After all, when people go on holiday they often spend the whole time doing strenuous, adrenaline fueled activities and come back saying it was a wonderful break and they feel refreshed! Talk to your teacher - give it a go!

Ok - so how does it work?

Simple. You choose a piece with your teacher that you would like to learn, and your teacher is happy is at the right technical level. Style doesn't matter. It can be classical, jazz, pop, rock, a show song... whatever you like. The only rule is you have to learn it to a performance standard in one week. You get a week off your normal pieces to totally concentrate on this one piece. That's it!

Tips for the one week study

Ask your teacher if he or she can play through the piece for you if you don't know it. Record it if possible, or find a copy on the internet.

The first couple of times you do this ask your teacher to help you plan your practice targets throughout the week. Download some practice planning sheets to help you here.

it is especially important to be clear about what you can more or less sight read in the piece and the parts that will need more work. The earlier in the week you learn the harder parts, the more review you have, the more confident you will be. You can polish up the easier parts in the last couple of days.

Now seems a good a time as any...

The one week study is best done when you don't have too much else on and you can devote some time to it. If you have school show performances, tests at school, projects due in, an important sports match in the middle of the week... don't do it! Wait until things are a little calmer and do it then. You will feel great if you rise to this challenge and achieve a concert standard performance of a piece in a week so give yourself the best possible chance! And if you don't quite get there don't beat yourself up about it! It isn't your playing or musical ability at fault... only that you need to examine your practice techniques a little more. Better to find that out earlier rather than later! Good luck! Enjoy!

Expert Practice Secrets

practice makes perfect by simon horsey

Frustrated with your practice? Read Practice Makes Perfect and hack the 10,000 hour rule. Cut your practice time by up to 25%! Make faster progress, learn pieces and scales faster, memorize more easily, and much more. "If you play an instrument you need this book!"

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