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!
- 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!”
- 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