The following questions are very easy to remember and will help bring focus to specific practice problems.
What exactly was the issue? Was it a wrong note? Fingering? Or perhaps a dynamic. Be very specific. The more accurately you can diagnose the problem the closer you are to fixing it. Maybe there is an underlying issue in your technique that caused the problem – you should identify that too.
Where was the problem? Again be specific. What were the bars that had the problem. Did the same problem reoccur? Perhaps it was just individual notes that were the problem.
This question is a little more tricky. Why did the error occur? The key here is to find the REAL reason. A slip of the memory or lack of concentration are not the real answer. Perhaps you didn’t really know the note or rhythm? Maybe the passage is technically tricky in which case you need an exercise to fix the problem. Maybe you just didn’t notice in which case you need to review and read the material more carefully.
Before you play the section of music again stop and think. Don’t just dive back in – this could mean you skip over the problem instead of really fixing it.
How are you going to fix the problem? Which practice method are you going to use to ensure the problem doesn’t occur again? How will you know the problem has been fixed.
By asking these four simple questions you have the basis of a quick effective way to fix many practice problems.