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26 Little Caprices, Anderson Op.37, #3.png

Lesson Focus: Learning lots of fast notes and shaping a melody hidden inside!

Find the link to the music HERE.

Oodles and noodles of triplets everywhere! This study is full of tricky and challenging things to practice. Let’s break it down shall we?

STEP 1: Find your metronome

Seriously, it’s that important it is a step entirely on its own. Only skip this step if you don’t mind wasting time and playing unevenly without even noticing you are playing unevenly. I know because I have made that choice many times before. It really is better to just find your metronome…

STEP 2: Review Caprice No. 1

Everything you learned for Caprice No. 1 applies to this study. Review it all HERE and then do it. Be sure that you play the correct articulations and make a point of playing the accents as they appear.  This is VERY important to do from the beginning, you will regret skipping it thinking you can just add it in later. It’s so much harder to do it that way most people just give up or end up with a mediocre result.

STEP 3: Take it to the next level and move the beats

This is a pretty serious practice technique that takes lots of mental effort. It can be a major brainteaser but it produce results much faster than old fashion repetition. Once you have gotten the study past step 2 you are in the right place to begin step 3. Using the metronome, move the click from the first note of each triplet to the second note and play through the study. The idea here is that you actually start to feel the pulse as if the second note of the triplet occurs on the big beat. When you have mastered this, naturally it’s time to move the click to the third note of the triplet and repeat the process. Keep in mind that the same rules from the first study continue to apply. If you are making a bunch of mistakes you are playing too fast. Slow your tempo down until the exercise becomes manageable and you are accurate and feeling calm as you go.

The tips video for this study is really helpful because you can hear examples of how to do this. The video is posted at the bottom of the blog.

STEP 4: The melody

1) Hopefully at this point you have been diligent at bringing out the accents as marked as you went through the exercises. Now it is time to shape the melody that they create. Start by practicing the accented notes as a long melody. Use a metronome when you do this so that you avoid playing them too fast or creating a new rhythm. Now here’s the trick to making it sound extra musical, shape the phrases! See the example below with the phrasing marked in. 


2) After you have practiced shaping the melody it’s time to add all the other notes back in. The goal here is to continue to play the melody with the phrasing you worked on when all the melody notes were connected. This can be a major brainteaser so have patience and give yourself the time to figure it out. It does not happen instantly so don’t expect that. It is very likely you will have to slow the piece back down so that you can really focus on the melody shape in the midst of everything else your doing.  When it seems easy, speed it back up. If it becomes hard again slow it back down! Of course you should using the metronome the whole time.

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