Working on a new piece:
- Read the title, name of the composer, tempo indication, signature marks. Doing so will help you gather information even before actual playing.
- Find all the repeating sections, motifs, measures, sequences, rhythms, something that you can learn and reapply later. Use different colors to highlight them. Look for patterns and familiar things. Find sections that look easy, such as long notes, simple scales. More points you can list, the better understanding of the piece you have.
- Find what it is that you like about the piece: melody, style, tempo, mood…
- Split a large task into small stages. Divide the piece into small sections and work through them. Don’t target to master the piece in just one week. No one would expect you to do so. Work on taking small steps every week. Be reasonable with your goals and expectations.
How the practicing progress could be evaluated:
- Divide the piece into sections based on melodic or harmonic material. If it is too complicate, just count 16 measures. Name or number each section. Pick one section to start working with, preferably one that looks as the easiest. It doesn’t have to be the first one.
- Listen to the piece and try to follow along
- Tap through the rhythm of the chosen section
- Play slowly the section for several times, until you can do it with no errors
- Play slowly counting loud and or assisted by metronome
- Add dynamics (p, mp, mf, f, cresc. dim)
- Add phrasing
- Try to memorize the section
- Choose a new section and start all over again