From the start the book presents its ideas in a very simple and straight forward way. The introduction page outlines 5 steps to completing the ideal practice routine: being a musical detective, warm up, without music, with music, your choice.
A warm ups page gives space for teacher and student to write down exercises to be used at the start of each practice session.
The bulk of this short book is given over to a section titled ‘Expore your piece’. If you have read our 20 questions practice method then you will be familiar with what is required here.
The most useful feature of the book is a series of ‘cut out’ cards covering exercises to be done with and without music. For example: “Practice the scale and arpeggio of the piece” and ” . .experiment with other speeds”.
There is a very brief and basic one page practice diary, a few notes for exams and some manuscript to finish the book off.
Overall I feel the book does not aim high enough. The target is for those students at grade 5 standard – my feeling is that more could be asked of students of this standard. On the plus side the book does ask the student to think more about practice than other methods – on the down side it doesn’t really deliver the information needed to really improve a players practice ability.
Improve your practice! by Paul Harris (2004, Faber Music, ISBN: 0-571-52275-0) is available from:
[amazon asin=0571522750&template=htp price]