'Music in Practice' on photocopying

I recently stumbled on the website “Music in Practice” which is a great resource for violin teachers and parents.

One of the articles that caught my attention was “Photocopying Helps Focus” which outlines the ways in which making extra copies of the music can help with practice. Sue Hunt, the author, refers to several ways that photocopying can be an aid to practice. A few caught my eye:

  • Photocopying creates clean copies to use so that cumulative marks on the score don’t cloud what’s really important in practice during the week.
  • You can slice and dice the copies and rearrange them so that just the passages of interest appear on a single page. Although it’s hardly necessary to go to this much trouble, I use a flat-bed scanner to scan the music. Sometimes marks are already on the score; so I use Photoshop to clean up the original images, then I begin to take pieces of the music and clip them into a new document. For example, ViolinGirl is learning “The Two Grenadiers” from Book 2 now. I want her to practice all of the retakes because they all use the same technique (small circle bow at the frog.) On the first page of the new document, I write out the instructions from the teacher and put the passages lined up down the page. It reduces the temptation to just keep playing through to the next phrase. I did the same, then with other types of learning spots, categorizing them into similar applications of technique. It keeps us focused on one technique at a time.
  • For the longest time, I’ve been craning my neck to see measure numbers when we are in a lesson. ViolinGirl’s teacher gives an instruction for a particular passage and I want to make note of that instruction. It’s difficult without the music in front of me; so I’ve begun to bring clean copies of the most recent working pieces to the lesson so that I can mark them up as the teacher makes comments. It’s much easier than trying to verbalize the instructions in my notes. Now I use lesson copies.