Practice, Review, What to Practice • February 1, 2019

Review? Why?

By Miss Candace

Your teacher assigned you review songs and they probably mentioned something particular to do or think about during review pieces, and then you get home. Now what? And why are we dwelling on things we already learned?

I promise it’s not just a waste of time. Review can be powerful if you use it effectively. How?

  • Review to build confidence. Playing things you have mastered reminds you that you actually do know how to play this instrument and you don’t always sound like a tortured cat (which we sometimes feel that way when learning a new piece).
  • Review to work on a new skill. Complex ideas such as vibrato, intricate bowings, shifting – these can be easier to learn when utilizing an older review song to try it out on first. Working on adding vibrato? Play through your earliest pieces slowly with your fledgling vibrato! Have a crazy bowing pattern? Try it on an old piece to see if you can do it there where your brain already knows the left hand very well.
  • Review to represent. The beautiful thing about learning an instrument at a young age means typically you understand how to memorize fairly well. This is handy not only for performances, but someday you will be around other people and your instrument, and they will be so impressed you can play it that they request you play a piece! You could freak out because you can’t remember any pieces without having your book in front of you, but you don’t, because you have been reviewing your songs and can play your last 3 pieces you’ve performed from memory. You just made everyone that plays your instrument look good – way to represent! (Be sure to high-5 your teacher later for requiring you to memorize things).

I feel like most teachers that utilize review tactics could write a book on this subject alone, so I will leave you with one last thought: review because your teacher asked you to. Sometimes we can let you in on our secret plans to make things magically work (or work better), but other days we run out of time to share that information. So give it a shot, and if you have questions about your assigned review, bring them to the next lesson!