If you are breaking down your music into sections, you give yourself attainable goals, help the memorization process, and learn everything faster.
However, you should be aware of one common issue with practicing sections: making a smooth transition from one section to the next.
Here’s a look at the unsuccessful process of learning sections for most musicians:
1. Learn Section A.
2. Learn Section B.
3. Attempt to play Section A and Section B together without stopping.
4. Run into problems during step 3 and be unable to play without slowing down or stopping altogether as Section B begins.
These musicians can’t understand how it can be so difficult to play both sections. After all, each section sounds great on its own. What could be so hard?
It’s the transition between Section A and Section B that’s hard!
If you have only worked on Section B by taking time to get set up and thinking about what you have to play, then Section B has become its own starting point. Moving directly into Section B from Section A will be too difficult. You’ll need to get used to starting Section B without preparation time.
To fix the situation, make sure you can play the last few notes of Section A and the first few notes of Section B smoothly–without stopping and without slowing down. This transition itself will become a mini-section.
Once the transition is strong, then you can attempt Section A and Section B together.
Even though you can play Section A by itself, the transition by itself, and Section B by itself, playing Sections A and B together will probably require a slower overall tempo the first few times.
Breaking down music into sections is one of the best practice tips available. Mastering the transitions between sections is the secret to using this practice tip successfully.