How to tackle those mistakes head on!

What do you do when you keep stumbling over that same difficult spot in your practice and you think you’ll just never ‘get it’? A teacher might help you solve the problem but … what if there is no one around except you?

You might take the time to analyze what the problem ‘may’ be.
But many times it is not a thinking problem, it is just a doing problem.

Try the following and see what happens.

  • First, go right to the exact spot of the problem. This will be your final destination. Start to play only that note or notes at the preferred speed in the right part of the bow until you are comfortable.
  • Now, back up and add just one note before the problem note or connection. Make both notes feel and sound good. Take care that you use the correct bowing! If you practice the wrong way, you won’t get the same results.
  • Time to add a few more notes before … always ending with your destination note. Continue this until you have worked your way back to the beginning of the phrase.

Graphically, it looks like this …


You may have to repeat these steps for the next few days.

It is easy to see that we are practicing that destination note many more times than the other notes. We are also reducing the anxiety travelling to our destination note by becoming very familiar with the territory, how it feels, how it sounds, how it looks on the page.

Always practice backwards from the mistake to the beginning of the journey. When we practice ‘from the mistake’ and add the connections ‘before the mistake’, we have a much better chance of success. Enjoy!

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Vivian Waters

Vivian Waters