a simple mistake that’s ruining your practice (and 3 ways to fix it)

i, rob knopper, am dumb.

it’s true - i proved it. i tried running bach's entire A minor fugue from beginning to end, over and over. at the end of each run, all i could remember were about 3 or 4 things from the entire piece that went wrong.

now you could probably say i’m dumb for two reasons in that case:

reason #1 that i’m dumb: i was trying to learn the notes of a bach fugue by simply barreling through the entire thing. of course that’s not going to work.

reason #2 that i’m dumb: there were probably hundreds if not thousands of issues with that piece, and i could only remember 3 or 4 of them by the time i got to the end. i missed plenty of notes. i ruined phrases. it was embarrassingly bad. i probably should have a higher functioning memory.

oh well.

good thing it was only in the practice room…and good thing it was in high school.

but since then, i figured out how to fix this problem. it wasn’t that i improved my ability to remember more things during a complete run, it was that i admitted to myself that i can’t remember very many things at once.

you have to acknowledge the limitations of your brain (repeat after me: “i, <your name here>, am dumb.”) and re-design your practice to be effective for YOU. it’s a thing called “working memory.” i realized that i can’t rely on my brain to remember things, and that i have to change the way i practice.

today’s video is about this one simple mistake that’s ruining your practice, and 3 ways to fix it.

it’s a video that i made for the bulletproof musician. he’s a performance psychologist and he wrote all about it this week. click here to check it out.

he and i are teaming up to teach you about audition preparation! for the next couple weeks i’ll be featuring him in videos, and we made an all-new audition cheat sheet together! click the button above to download it.

rob knopper

hailed by @nytimes and james levine as needing 'louder triangle notes'. recorded delécluse: douze études for snare drum, percussionist in @metorchestra.