January 9, 2014: Learning new repertoire
We're off and running with a new program. Everything needs to be new for these performances -- even the recycled literature we're including for our stage concert in Dixon, Illinois. But the thought of learning all of it in one big picture can be daunting. Start with one thing and work your way through, learning these pieces one at a time. I'd suggest starting with the Bach.
I like this approach for learning new music. It's like this: cleaning a huge floor by hand can be daunting unless you start in the corner facing the corner, moving backwards. Then you only see what is finished as opposed to the large area yet to go.
As you go, however, this is the best time to place the scrutiny bar really high. Don't let yourself settle for approximations -- especially grabbing pitches and intervals in pieces like the Bach -- thinking "I'll get it" in some un-named future. That future is NOW. Stay with it until you can use the present tense in that sentence: "I have it."