Oops! I almost forgot to blog. Here's a lesson on cramming
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Monday, August 14, 2017
By Joseph E Line
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Have you ever been so busy that you forgot to practice piano until the day before your piano lesson, so you tried to cram in a week’s practicing in one day?

My wife, who is a pianist, tells me that she used to do that every week when she was a child.

Guess what? Cramming for a piano lesson isn’t like cramming for a test. Here’s why.

When you cram for a test, you are trying to cram information into your head -  like history or physics.  The hope is that you will remember it for tomorrow’s test.

But with piano playing, it isn’t enough for you know something about the music, you also must train your fingers to be able to play that music. And that’s where the trouble comes.

You see, training your brain to control all 10 fingers to play precisely the right notes and rhythms in precise order with all the right fingers is a very complex skill. It’s not like brushing your teeth. You can brush your teeth any old way and they still get cleaned. No, piano playing is a higher-order skill that is almost impossible to do in one day.  Higher-order skills usually will take hundreds of repetitions for those finger skills to become set and the playing to become easy. And ten, maybe twenty repetitions is a waste of time because what you practice will mostly be forgotten overnight.

Pros can do it. But that’s because they’ve stored millions of pianistic skills in their brain that they can call upon to learn any new piece of music.

But beginning, intermediate and some advanced players only have a limited number of skills developed and stored in their brain. And trying to learn any new piece of music in just one day pushes their brain beyond its limits. (Yes, brains do have limits!)

The point of this blog: Cramming doesn’t work. Practice daily. 

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