How Many Repetitions Do You Need To Do?
In October of 2015 a new study suggested that if you repeat a task correctly 50% to 100% more times than the number of repetitions it took you to perform the task correctly once, you can shorten your learning time significantly. For example, if it took you 10 times to get a phrase correct then you would play for an extra 5 to 10 times (correctly) for significant progress — 10 times being more effectiv.e.
”Correct” means memorized with the correct fingering, good tone and correct rhythm at a slow tempo. This assumes that every time you ran into a challenge, you stopped to analyze and work out that challenge.
Of course, this is not as black and white as it seems. If it takes you too many repetitions to perform the task well the first time (e.g., 20 time) then your progress won’t be very significant at all. The key is to be very careful and deliberate as you learn a phrase in order to get it correct with as few repetitions as possible. Personally, my goal is 5 reps. or less (although that doesn’t always happen).
NOTE 1: You need to make sure you are playing with minimal tension. If you are not not relaxed, this will NOT work. Also, you should not expect unrealistic gains in skill, but you should expect improvement. If you're doing this correctly, you'll notice faster improvement than what you may have noticed with other practice methods.
NOTE 2: If you are unsure about proper technique, posture, etc. FIND A TEACHER! I cannot stressthe importance of having a good treacher present to help you correct errors and execute technique corretly in order to express the music the way you want. If you're looking for a qualified teacher to help you improve, email us!