Caricature by Brazilian artist Mario Mendez (1907-1996)
Play through the piece slowly or fast. Mistakes don’t matter.
Play it again. Take note of technical or fingering difficulties. Mistakes don’t matter.
Home in on the fingering and technical issues. Try to work out various alternatives or solutions. Don’t make any decisions – yet.
Think of the music itself now. What’s it about? What’s the shape? What’s the tempo?
Play through the sections you were finding difficult to read and make them more fluent. Repeat them till they are improved.
Home in again on technically difficult passages.
By now you have created a musical jigsaw of the piece: some parts ok, some still a bit vague. That’s OK.
Go back to playing through the whole piece various times. The mistakes don’t matter.
Now it is more fluent try to improve musical, rhythmic, and tempo considerations at the same time as reducing mistakes. Mistakes now do matter. Fingerings begin to sort themselves out.
Keep alternating between detailed practice and playing through the whole piece; between the close-up and the overview. When you tire of one go to the other.
Next stage? Repeat 1 – 10 in any order you like! This is my rough guide to learning, which works for me.
Thank you for reading.