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Three Tips to Master a Difficult Music Passage

If a particular music passage is giving you trouble, here are several basic techniques to mastering it.

  • Reduce the tempo. Train your brain to make the right transitions in the right order; build a mental map of where your fingers need to go. Don’t be afraid to take long pauses while you are still learning a piece – you can always increase the tempo later.
  • Practice each hand separately. If one hand is having all the problems, then focus on that hand’s part for a while.
  • Try adding fingering and other markings in the trouble section. Often, if there are a lot of notes, you can increase your confidence and speed of mastery by visual indicators. Just like having a map can help you find the best path over rough terrain, so good fingering can help you confidently attack long passages. Once you have found the best fingering for you, repeat the trouble section slowly until you feel you’ve made progress. If you need to add other reminders (e.g., speed up or slow down, accent certain notes, or turn a page at a certain spot), write those instructions on the music as well. Learn more on the importance of fingering by reading this article

With simple and effective tools like these, you will soon find yourself playing with ease.
Happy music-making!

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The Importance of Fingering


As we were in our various early music lessons, what is one thing that your instructor would always harp on? Was it ever about the importance of fingering your score? My organ instructors would never let me get away with not writing down my fingering. There’s a simple explanation for that too.. BECAUSE IT WORKS!


What is Fingering

Many musical instruments are best played when certain finger placements are followed. Each finger, on each hand, has a number assigned to it. In most cases that number is 1-5 starting at the thumb and ending at the smallest finger.

Using correct fingering takes time to master and will feel uncomfortable or unnatural at first. But disciplining yourself to use correct fingering early will always pay off in the end.


Why is Fingering important

One example of the importance of fingering is when I was preparing to play the organ for the upcoming Sunday worship service and I was told that we were going to sing a less familiar hymn as the opening hymn. Knowing that I wasn’t familiar with the hymn myself, I began to diligently practice the hymn. Over and over and over again I would run through each stanza only to realize that, in the hours I was practicing the hymn, I wasn’t getting any better at playing it.

It was then that I noticed that each time I would play the hymn, my fingering was slightly different, thus resulting in the culminating effect that my playing quality was remaining stagnant all throughout my practice.

As soon as I began to write down my fingering, however, immediately the hymn began to improve  and each time I would play it, I would make fewer mistakes than before.


Fingering The Conclusion

All throughout my piano and organ playing, I have noticed that my piece will always sound better when I have my fingering written down than when I don’t have it written down.