Music Practicing 101: The Three Different Ways Drill

When I was a young music student, I was often told, "Fix your trouble spots" or "This spot needs extra practice. Drill that spot 10X". However, one thing I've noticed, is that my concentration wanes after drilling something five times. I think that's even a bigger challenge for music students today as they are inundated with so much more information. I like the number "3". This week, I've had my students drill their trouble spots three times. However, the catch is that they must play it three different ways. For example:

  • use three different registers
  • use three different surfaces
  • use three different levels of dynamics
  • use three different types of articulation
  • If you play more than one instrument - try it on three different instruments

My students and I have noticed that they are more focused for those three times since they are playing that spot differently each time. They are actively listening to what they are doing. 

The end result? In most cases, the problem spot was ironed out after drilling the spot only three times. 

In some cases, you may need to drill a spot up to five times. In that case, you'll make it the "Five Different Ways Drill".