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Backwards day!

A delightful seven-year-old, arriving for her lesson, immediately announced “This is Backwards Day!”  Who knew?

I went with it, of course.  Resistance would have resulted in one unhappy student.  What actually happened?  We had tons of fun!

What transpired

  • We said, “Goodbye!”
  • We shuffled her books so the top one was in back
  • We chose a piece from the back of the book
  • She played the end first
  • We went backwards, line by line
  • “I love it” became “It love I”
  • Fast became slow, and vice-versa
  • Loud was soft
  • Cresc. was dim.
  • She tried a piece with her hands crossed (good practice!)
  • She taught me how to play something while she sat in my chair
  • She asked me questions like she was the teacher
  • And then we said, “Hello!”

Why backwards?

  • Backwards is good!
  • Start in different places
  • Vary repertoire
  • Play different dynamic schemes, different rubato, different tempi
  • Try the opposite if Plan A isn’t working
  • Find fingering backwards ~ where do you need to end?
  • Nail the endings by practicing them first
  • Practice movements, songs, and sections in reverse order for more flexibility and security

Why backwards works

  • Reversing the order of movements assures “equal time” when something interferes with your practice session
  • Going backwards is fun!
  • Shaking things up enhances concentration
  • The usual expectations of the same thing in the same way every day are avoided

Do you sometimes practice backwards?  Do you help your students mix it up?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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My E-book

Goal-oriented Practice” helps you practice backwards, forward, and upside down. Whatever works!

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