In yesterday’s post, I wrote about the importance of practicing distinct sections of music to aid learning and memorization. 

However, one element of music composition works against us as we prepare and learn music: repeated sections.  Most pieces contain musical material that keeps coming back throughout.  So, if we break up the music based on the sections as they fall in order in the composition, some portions of the music will get practiced much, much more than other portions.

For example, many jazz standards are AABA form, where the B section is the bridge.  If you practice each section equally, you are playing through three A sections for every one B section.

Pop and rock songs usually have verse, chorus, and bridge sections, with both the verse and the chorus coming up multiple times.  The chorus also generally repeats over and over and fades at the end of the song.  Again, practicing all sections equally means that you’ll spend much less time working on the bridge than you will on either the verses or the chorus.

Sonata form has the exposition, development, and recapitulation sections, and the recapitulation restates the exposition.  Essentially, the ending sounds like the beginning.  You’ll need to make sure the development section gets the exposure your brain needs to place it into your memory.

If you practice each section equally, you will be shortchanging yourself (and your memory) on the sections that show up less frequently.  This means that not all sections are created equal.  Certain portions of the music will simply need more practice time than others if you want to learn every bit of your music well.

Another reason it’s important to give the less frequent sections of music more attention is that they usually contain the most demanding musical material.  If you want to learn all the bits of your music equally well, the difficult portions will simply need more time and care while you’re practicing.

Your performances will improve dramatically when you have total control over every section of your music.  Give the middle sections–which don’t get repeated as often as the material at the beginning and the end of most compositions–the attention they deserve.

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