There’s an easy way to have your child learning new pieces and keeping up their review while on vacation – and without practicing! Professional musicians know how much better they can play a piece they have been working diligently on after they stop practicing it and have a break. This is sometimes called the “backburner” approach as the piece is moved from the front burner of daily practice to a slow simmer on the back of the stove.
So, there is an absorptive period when the brain integrates the physical movements with the sound, and assimilates the information learned. By taking time off it becomes easier to play because the extra tension and unnecessary work is not reinforced. Of course this can only happen after a person has practiced with good repetition over a significant period of time!
So, how to utilize these last days of summer vacation as an absorptive period in preparation for Fall lessons?
By listening to the recording as many hours a day as possible. This enables the child to integrate the memorization of the sound with the physical learning on the review pieces. You may even notice your child “playing” with their fingers while listening as the link between the sound and physical is reinforced by the listening without actually playing the piano.
The listening is also the beginning step for internalizing the sound of the new pieces. Before beginning to play the new piece, the sequence of sounds – the music-can be completely learned and memorized. This can make the learning process much much faster. And for Book 2 and up students, take that Suzuki book along for the car or plane ride and watch the score while listening. You’ll be surprised when you arrive home that your child wants to go to the piano and work on the piece(s) they have been listening and watching. This can make the transition back to practicing much easier.