Technique and Theory: The Foundation of a Piece Well Learned
Learning a new piece of music can be a daunting and sometimes even a tedious task. After a while a routine develops, and we can approach each new piece the same. However, music is not a uniform expression of thoughts and emotions; each piece is individual encouraging growth in the student. Breaking a piece down into smaller sections helps identify the difficult moments, the passages requiring more expression, and the themes in the music. Starting with the basics: What key is this piece in? What is the time signature? What are the musical markings (dynamics, etc.)? How will these things affect practice/performance? For the singers, what language is the piece in? Are there definitions that need to be looked up?
As soon as these questions are answered, the practicing begins. Always use the best technique that you know from the beginning, regardless of the instrument that you are playing. If we become complacent with our technique when practicing, bad habits will develop and we end up working twice as hard in order to overcome these habits. If there is persistence with the technique that is gained in the studio with your teacher, a piece comes together, the end result being satisfying and enjoyable. Learning a piece in small portions with persistently good technique gives a student confidence in his or her skills as a musician and performer.
Sarah Miga, M.M.