How to learn really difficult music

How to learn really difficult musicWhen I was in high school, I thought the most difficult piece of flute music in the world was Chant de Linos by Jolivet. I played snippets of it here and there, but had not learnt, nor even dared try to play, the whole thing.

By the time I started university, I still believed Chant de Linos to be the most difficult piece of flute music ever written. By then I had already decided I would perform it for my final piece in my final recital in my final year. Can you tell I was a little obsessed by this piece?

Gradually over the years I played more and more snippets of this really difficult music, and finally it was time to learn the whole thing properly.

At some point while learning this piece, I had a breakthrough. 

I realised that it was not the most difficult piece of flute music ever written. Not only that, but I realised there was no music that was the most technically difficult piece of music ever written.

And you know what my big breakthrough was?

I realised I knew what all the notes were. I knew how to play them. I just had to play them in the right order at the right time.

No big deal.

With this change of mindset, suddenly the music was much easier. It wasn’t daunting at all. It really was just a matter of playing the right notes at the right time. I could do that – no problem!

So if you are learning a really difficult piece of music, take my advice: You already know the notes. You just have to play them at the right time.

Simple 🙂

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