Once the process of learning a new piece of music is underway I almost look at it as if I’m building a house -which is a rather odd analogy since I honestly can’t even fix our leaky kitchen faucet.


One of the first processes I always go through is something I refer to as tapping, clapping, and mapping. In other words, I try to clap out the rhythm of the piece with my hands, often seeking out some of the more difficult measures and isolating them from the rest of the piece.

After I feel confident that I am doing this right I check the accuracy with my beloved (ICK) metronome, identifying this accuracy with the landing of my clap on the first beat of the following measure. If everything is playing out well I continue to tap it out with my foot in the same way as my clapping.

Only then will I actually begin to even consider playing the notes. Unless this clapping and tapping is done, especially with the help of a metronome, I run the serious risk of playing the piece inaccurately. When playing with others, this timing issue is especially important and proper timing respects the culture of the music you are attempting to play.

Mapping a piece has everything to do with the fingerings and positional functionality of both hands. Chapter Three will focus on this technique.

 Note: Photos provided by Marc Manning.


Originally posted 2010-01-15 16:41:06.