Practice For Pleasure, Pat Legg



Chapter 1

  • Be positive
  • Start with warmup or STRAIGHT TO THE FOCUS AREA (not play-through)
  • 1 hour sessions most productive – 10 mins to get going, 20-40 max performance, 10 drops off at end

Chapter 2

  • Avoid mindless repetition which does not help you develop – IF YOUR MIND IS NOT INVOLVED YOU’RE WASTING YOUR TIME
  • Set Goals
  • Play in different places, in different instruments
  • Not more than 1 hour at a time
  • Change the order
  • Sight-reading and memory closely linked


  • Listen for how different keys sound
  • Vary pulse, rhythm, dynamic, direction

Studies and Excercises

  • Make a ‘warm up book’ – 8 bar sections that are problems on pieces. 5 per day (when you add a new one, remove the oldest)
  • After initial look, go straight to problem areas
  • Exercises must be played musically – do not tighten up


  • Warm up exercises first.
  • Take breaks (50/10 min)
  • Minor discomfort to be expected when doing new things

Memory Building & Sight Reading

  • Memory requires practive.
  • ‘Proceduralisation’ – whole phrase follows an initial trigger (sight, sound and touch – each can fail us)
  • Fix problems NOW not later
  • Be accurate
  • Tap rhythm so you can feel it
  • ‘Dalcroze Today’ by Marie Buchanon – the physical and mental approach to rhythmic patterns and pulse
  • Improve melodies using problem rhythms


  • Good technique
  • Well developed understanding and appreciation
  • Belief in oursleves
  • Need all three of the above
  • Avoid over-technical practice that forgets musical feeling
  • Ask yourself “Why can’t I do it?” – Psychological? Technical? Don’t understand the problem?


  • Pulse – feel twice as fast to stop hurried sense
  • Rhythmic awareness, sound quality, expression, articulation, form, phrasing
  • Develop musical awareness and the same time as technique

Preparing for Exams

  • Identify percentage of marks for each section
  • What areas weakes
  • Mental preparation – find ways of coping…
  • Avoid others – fear is catching
  • No post-mortems