by Robert Allen
(Birmingham, Great Britain)
Having played piano for over 50 years as an amateur I have found the following to be very useful: a piece of some difficulty, particularly allegro (fast, lively) or quicker, should be practised slowly - and in places of particular difficulty - very slowly. As expertise and familiarity grow speed can be increased until proficiency is achieved. I think the importance of this cannot be over-emphasised.
A useful ploy I have always utilised is when practising a piece that, because of technical difficulties is obviously going to take weeks or even months to perfect, to relieve the frustration and tedium, dig out a favourite piece that you like and can play well, give it an airing and it becomes easier to return to the difficult piece (or scales) with renewed vigour.
Finally, when concentration becomes difficult and exhaustion sets in, close the lid and return refreshed tomorrow.
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