Probably one of the most common mistakes is not reading the music carefully at the beginning of our practice. We are all eager to play a new piece, but often this positive enthusiasm and willing to explore leads to a lack of carefulness in reading the music at the very start of our practice.
That happens often for chords, where an extra note or an accidental like a # or a b could be easily added or omitted.
That will lead to mistakes in learning that will have to be corrected in the future.
Therefore, before jumping into the real practice of a piece, we have to make sure then when we first read it, we’re actually playing all the correct notes.
Who wants to keep repeating the same passage over and over for thousands times and still don’t see the big improvements we were expecting?
Most likely this happens due to a lack of concentration during practice. When practicing we have to try to be focused all the time instead of numbly repeating a passage or a piece. Repetition by itself hardly leads to improvements: it will only reinforce our muscle memory, being this good or bad.
To improve this aspect of practice, taking breaks is a great help. We need to refresh our brain before getting back to an active learning! Also, another important tip is to set specific goals for each practice session, and try to stick to them as much as possible.
Of course we all want to play the piece “in tempo” as soon as possible.
But rushing the process and trying to play everything too fast and too soon might leads to a lack of control in technique and a poor stability in rhythm and phrasing.
Trying to play a piece a piece at a speed beyond our initial possibilities may also create a series of problems that will have to be fixed afterwards.
Therefore, we need to try to have control and consciousness of most of all aspects of the music we’re playing before moving on to a faster tempo. Increasing the speed gradually usually helps, and if we feel that once we play at a faster pace we are losing control, we could always go back to a slower tempo.
It happened at least once to every one of us to think: “Oh, let me just fix this technical passage first, then I’ll take care about the music/dynamics etc.”?
That shouldn't be the standard practice's mindset all focused on the technical side. It’s very easy to forget about all the musical aspects of a piece while we are all focused on the technique side of it, especially if the piece is challenging.
However, dynamics, phrasing and style should always be engaged in our practice sessions, since they are fundamental parts of the music we are playing. Therefore, we can’t leave them behind!