Potpourri (P-Model album)

Cover art for Potpourri by the artist P-Model ~ image via Wikipedia

Welcome to my potpourri!


1.  How does one memorize bass lines?

This is a foolproof way to memorize inner parts as well.

  • Practice the bass line separately, musically, as you would a melody.
  • Write in good fingerings.
  • Can you sing the bass line away from the piano?

2.  How can one avoid being nervous before a jury?

This also applies to other performances, of course.

  • You are going to be nervous. Don’t deny it. That just makes it worse.
  • Focus on what you are going to do.
  • Don’t talk to people. That dissipates your energy.
  • Practice slow breathing.
  • Channel your nervous energy into the performance. This becomes easier the more you perform.

Talking during the organ prelude in church (cont.)

Florence, an organist and blogger, commented on my April 13th post, Don’t drown out the organist!, then followed up with a post on the Pedal Points

blog on the same topic. You will find some interesting comments there, as well as some terrific prior posts.

This and that

Now that it’s almost summer and the colleges are out, I am readjusting my focus. During the past several weeks I have usually felt like there wasn’t enough time. Have you ever felt like you were always in the wrong place and needed to be somewhere else in 5 minutes?

Those circumstances are not conducive to detailed practicing. I was throwing in a lot of last-minute fingerings, keeping one step ahead of sight-reading but not much more (at least that’s the way I felt).

Yes, I can do that. But I don’t enjoy doing only that.

Today I practiced solo piano music (a Bach Prelude and Fugue and 2 movements of Debussy’s Children’s Corner) in a concentrated way for the first time in weeks! It’s so nice to be able to take the time to truly listen and sink into the keys. Since I have a solo recital on July 22nd, this needs to happen now.

I also practiced organ music on the piano for the Sunday service.

And I am taking my time(!) to learn Patience by Gilbert & Sullivan. Having time (a month before the run-through!) means being able to find ideal fingerings and really learn the piece. That way, when I’m more stressed in the Fall (rehearsals will be in September and October), I won’t be so concerned if a practice session is shorter than I’d like.

Does your focus change depending on what you’re playing? What about the time of year? 

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Summer Concerts


See complete details about Rocky Hill Concerts.  4 Sunday afternoons in July in air-conditioned comfort!


“Goal-oriented Practice: How to Avoid Traps and Become a Confident Performer” gives every musician a fresh perspective!

My book frees up time to learn more music, memorize, or do something else entirely!

“Goal-oriented Practice” is also available in print!

Goal-oriented Practice

sold in 8 countries!

Review by pianist Robert W. Oliver

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