Don’t Learn It Wrong (IV)

Optimizing The Loop

After you have done this a few times, it should become clear what mistakes you make, and if they fall into a rough category. Jot these down as they occur to you, and return to playing; don’t bother trying to write it nicely. Over time, patterns will emerge.

These will all be specific to you. As an example, here is my analysis:

  1. Don’t really “get” the whole exercise just yet. Countermeasure: back off tempo a few notches or play half tempo, while listening carefully.
  2. Flubbing a finger pattern. Countermeasure: identify and log the pattern, possible cause and solution. Before each repetition, reflect, and think of that pattern before starting again.
  3. Losing focus. This is a big one for me, that I had to break it down further.
    1. Visual distraction – metronome flashing, movement or stuff in the background. Countermeasure: stay more present, close eyes, change location if needed.
    2. Wandering mind – solving problems while playing; thinking too hard about a fingering or countermeasure while playing, instead of listening.
  4. Too long break between repetitions – immediate muscle memory has faded.
  5. Too short break between repetitions – no chance to reflect and absorb the previous results.
  6. Not listening enough – visualizing finger patterns, notation, intervals, keys, etc., rather than letting your ear lead you.
  7. Micro-focus – at faster tempo, thinking of each note individually becomes counterproductive. Think of the sounds or accents in larger increments.
  8. Regressing badly, Tired – If suddenly everything is going wrong, move to a different exercise or quit the session. No shame, you can always come back to it. Don’t Learn It Wrong!