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The best way to practise is to play lots of times, but you don’t need to play for very long each time.
Keep your instrument where you can pick it up easily (just make sure it’s somewhere it won’t get damaged).
And do that -
You’ve got something complicated to practice. Play it very slowly and accurately, with a metronome. If anything goes wrong, start again. Play it like this until you can play it very easily. Once you’ve done all that, you can speed it up quite easily.
Your mind can remember what you do in huge detail, and can play it back at different speeds without difficulty. But before you can play accurately and quickly, you need to be able to play it accurately and slowly.
This is the quickest way to learn something tricky, but it does take patience.
Practice with a metronome
It’s really important to develop a strong sense of rhythm. An excellent way to do this is to practise with a metronome, or with a drum machine, or with backing tracks.
Aim for accuracy, and go slowly enough to get it right. Only speed things up when you can play it right every time.
If the rhythm is at all tricky, playing it without a backing could be dangerous -
Here are two online metronomes I find useful:
Nice and simple to use:
This one has some simple drum patterns:
There is a great piece of software available from the ABRSM exam board. It lets you play a music file slowly, so you can practise with it. Get it from www.abrsm.org/speedshifter.
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