Practice Tip of the Week:
Play Without Stopping

Many musicians have a habit of practicing in a way that
will never lead to success in a performance.

Their practicing is full of uncontrolled stops and starts.
Their playing is interrupted each time they make an error
(or think they’re about to make an error!!).

At Molto Music, we call this process the “SAD Syndrome.”
SAD stands for Stop And Do-it-again.

While in the grips of the SAD Syndrome, players sometimes
re-start by going back a few notes, and other times they
just forge ahead. Either way, they are teaching their muscles
to play mistakes.

Worse yet, during the pause in their playing, some musicians
blurt out a quick “Oh” or “Sorry” or “*%^$@#.” These words
pass their lips almost unconsciously.

Stopping and starting creates stress and a lack of confidence.
It can even lead to memory lapses and stage fright.

If it happens to you, it’s time to build new practice habits!

Here are a few suggestions to avoid the SAD Syndrome:

1. Slow Down: Play at a slow, controlled tempo. When
playing slowly, you can anticipate and avoid a mistake
before it even happens! This will allow you to keep playing
successfully.

2. Play a Shorter Section: Play just a few bars at a time.
When each section is perfect, you can put them together to
form longer sections of music.

3. Work on Transitions: Make sure you can transition from the
end of one section to the beginning of the next section. Too many
musicians skip this step!

4. Keep Counting: Often, the SAD Syndrome occurs because a
musician plays an incorrect pitch. Instead of stopping if you
hit a wrong note, keep playing in time. Get to the next note,
placing its rhythm correctly in your count.

If you’ve found yourself struggling with the SAD Syndrome, try
these suggestions and make a big change in your practice techniques.

And remember: Your performances will be a mirror of your practicing.
When you’re on stage, you’ll have to play without stopping. So, it
makes sense to play without stopping while you’re practicing.

To Your Musical Success!

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