Instead of playing the piece of music the same way each time, there are ways to make the music sound fresher even while it is being polished. This can be applied to all instruments. Without being a drama-queen, introducing ‘a change of character’ in the approach of practising can have a very different affect.
I was inspired by David Henson of London College of Music’s practise tips for Music Theatre students. (LCME Spring 2019 Edition). I think his ideas can be transferred to pianists and drummers as well. Paraphrasing his suggestions, play the piece of music/drum score in a number of ways to hear it differently. Such as;
- Play it FAST
- Play it VERY SLOWLY
- Play it VERY FAST
- Play the passage QUIETLY
- Play the passage LOUDLY
- Another idea is to play passages of score as if you are phrasing it like a conversation between 2 people.
- What do you notice about the timing of each phrase?
- Where do you feel any tension between yourself and the score? Why? How can you improve it?
If you get stuck at a spot, try and look at it completely differently or come back to it later rather than slogging yourself over a few tricky parts. Music should NEVER be a punishment.
If you notice yourself starting to enjoy practising more, it is a good sign!