I was working on Joao Pernambuco’s groovy Interrogando with an extremely young and bright student yesterday. Despite his ability to absorb new material at a pace that inspires me, he was having a difficult time making this little part sound fluid.
After a bit of analysis, we agreed that it was due to the lack of clarity in the right hand. So, instead of playing it over and over, which is often default behavior for most students confronting a tricky passage, we decided to break it down and come up with a list of steps to once and for all solve the problem. Here are the steps.
Step 1 – Write out strings.
Writing out the strings as numbers also helps see patterns if you process information better that way (i.e. 5232 5423 1232 ).
Step 2 – Choose the best right hand fingering options. See this post for more about choosing the best options: Conde Claros, Scales, and String-Crossing.
We came up with two solutions. The top one was chosen by the student because his technique was more suited to it. I preferred the second solution given to my preference for aipi instead of amim.
Step 3 – Analyze where the right hand position change happens (if at all).
Step 4 – Practice the last box from Step 3 using right hand alone with a focus on rhythm.
Step 5 – Bring left hand into the game for that box only (right hand now does it correctly and proficiently and left hand has to catch up is a much better option than both hands struggling and doing it somewhat incorrectly).
Step 6 – Check in with the right hand alone again.
Step 7 – Go back to Step 4 and Step 6 with the second to last box. Add to last box.
Step 8 – Go back to Step 4 and Step 6 with the first box. Add to both boxes.
Step 9 – Do a few minutes of focus, take a mental rest, and go back for several more sets (building mental muscle!).
Step 10 – Check tempo and set tempo goals.
Not only could the student whip through the passage after doing this, his skills at identifying any confusion improved. Lots of “Oh!” and “Now that feels easy!”.