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Jonathan Harnum's 'Practice of Practice'


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When I first started learning the Crane - which was really my first serious instrument - my practice approach was seriously flawed. Alan Day certainly put me right on some aspects but the damage had already been done. I had wasted years of effort which could have been used more efficiently.


I made a better job of the Mandolin, working out some of my errors for myself. Then I came across 'The Practice of Practice: Get Better Faster' by Jonathan Harnum which I think is a vital book to escape the potential errors in being self-taught.


I don't know if it's been duscussed here before - I didn't find it in the forum search, but even if it has it's a book worth going back to periodically.

Maybe its basic principles are taken for granted by everyone else, but as a complete musical novice with no formal training I was amazed how much fundamental wisdom I had missed, such as:


1. Playing so slowly that you cannot make a mistake and thus do not reinforce errors.
2. Focusing on the difficult bits rather than playing a whole piece from the top when you go wrong.
3. Always innovating rather than repeating the same old things.



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Thanks for these.  I have learned a few instruments over the years and consider myself reasonbly good at self-teaching but still need these reminders.  Sounds like a great book.  I will check it out.  A mindset that helps me is to relish the struggle, because learning something challenging is a way to relive an aspect of childhood.


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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/27/2019 at 9:44 PM, dabbler said:

...Sounds like a great book.  I will check it out...

There appears to be a free download of a shortened version/sample of this book here. At least, it seems to be the same book?

I haven't had a chance to look at it yet...

Edited by lachenal74693
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