Burrowes' Guide to Practice
On Practice in General
1. The time for practice should be fixed. What is left to be done at an uncertain time is often left undone.
2. The first portion of practice should be devoted to Exercises or Scales.
- Practicing a passage, exercise, or scale, does not mean playing it through once, twice, or thrice but a careful repetition of it twenty or thirty times successively; and
- the practice of the same should be resumed daily till it be executed with correctness and precision, and with as much fluency as the progress of the pupil will admit.
3. A passage is not sufficiently practiced until:
- not one wrong key is struck
- not one wrong finger is used
- not one finger down when it should be up, or up when it should be down
- the hand is held in a proper position throughout
- the piece or passage is played in correct rhythm and tempo, and without looking at the fingers
Rules to Be Observed at Practice
- Never pass over a mistake.
- Practice slowly at first.
- Ascertain the nature of the difficulty.
- Practice with each hand separately.
- Select passages for practice.
- Practice in small portions.
- In selecting passages to practice, do not always begin and end at the same place.
- Extend and reverse passages.
- Repeat correctly six successive times at least.
- Practice the piece as a whole after practicing in detail.
- After correctness, practice for fluency.
- Practice till perfect.
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Last Updated: 4 March 1998