Do you want to know a secret? I don’t always want to practice the things that I should be working on… Yes, I am a professional, and yes, I love playing music, but there are some pieces that I dread and would rather put off until tomorrow.
I know that my students have this same issue. I don’t know how many times a student will tell me “Oh, I did not really work on that this week because it was hard.” Well, what is the trick? I always practice the things that I don’t want to work on first. There are two really good reasons for doing this:
- You are more alert and can focus better at the beginning of a practice session. This means that you should work on anything that will involve more thought and concentration right at the beginning. You will accomplish more at this time. By the end of the practice session if you try to work on hard material, you may just be going through the motions without accomplishing anything, or even worse, you may be introducing and practicing mistakes.
- Human nature is such that we all procrastinate… You tend to work on material that you can already play because it is fun, and leave the hard stuff for the end. Then, towards the end of the practice session, as you are running out of time, you think “Oh, I’ll work on that hard piece tomorrow.” Well, tomorrow comes, and you do the same thing over again. All of a sudden it is the day before your lesson, or even worse, the day before your show, and you still can’t play the hard material. I know! I am guilty of having done this myself.
So, think of that the time next time you have something hard to work on… Leave the fun material for the end, and get your work done first!