1. Welcome, this is Terry Ewell. These are my comments on Weissenborn study #8.
2. Many students always start at the beginning of a study or composition when they practice. It feels good to play over and over things that you can perform well. It takes greater courage, however, to confront the most difficult aspects of an exercise such as this. The quickest way to make progress is to address the problems and spend more practice time on them. More time should be spent on the most difficult sections of an exercise than on the easier sections.
3. I suggest you try a new technique that will improve your practice time: Sight read through study number 8 a few times. Make a careful note of the passages where you have the most difficulty. Put an “x” over those places. You probably didn’t have too much difficulty with measure 1. In fact, you might have played this measure well every time. Other places, however, such as the fourth line probably have an “x” or two.
4. Decide this week to practice the problem spots first! Don’t start at the beginning. Only read through the entire study after you have worked carefully on the problem areas.
5. I tell my students that once they have identified a problem area, they should next find at least three practice methods to address the problem. Let’s assume that line 4, measure 3 is a problem area for you. Here are some practice methods to consider.
6. We have already seen that rhythms can help with finger coordination. Here are a few rhythms and other exercises to use for this passage:
7. Tonguing might be an issue for you as well. Let’s address tonguing separately from fingers. I call short bursts of tonguing or fingering patterns “sprints.” While slow practice is helpful for reinforcing proper technique and muscle memory, you can’t master playing rapidly without working on speed. Here is an exercise to increase tonguing speed. Be sure to push or sprint to the end of the pattern. Don’t slow down.
8. Last of all, let’s do a little more work with drones. Since the first line of the study features two chords, the tonic and dominant, we can use a drone on the fifth scale degree to help us with intonation. The fifth scale degree of B flat major is F. Listen to this example of slow practice of the first line with an F drone.
Example F drone.
9. "The unexamined life is not worth living." (Socrates, Apology 38a)
Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” (NKJV, Genesis 3:9)
耶和华神呼唤那人，对他说，“你在哪里？” (和合本, 创世纪3:9)
10. Too often we try to avoid our problems. I mentioned in this lesson that often students avoid the difficult areas in a musical study. All of us want to avoid difficult areas in life as well! Sometimes we even avoid thinking about life’s difficulties. However, hiding from issues won’t make the issues go away. It is difficult to examine the issues that are harmful to life. Identifying problems in musical studies is the most efficient way to master an exercise. Likewise, confronting a problem in life is the best start towards the solution.