Lifetime of a piece from sightreading to performance
Now we have got practising down to a fine art, how do we prepare for a performance? You do not do the same sort of practice months out from a concert that you would do just days away from your big day. I like to think of clarinet playing as being like that of an Olympic swimmer, or footballer, depending on your sporting preference. I'm a big sports fan, so bear with me here.
I have a few playlists of pieces from the first time I pick them up until I perform them. I hope you will find them very instructive. I don't expect you to watch them in their entirety by they provide a time line on how you should be practising a piece and when.
So what do you do when you first pick up a piece of music? First of all is the sightreading. Don't sight read at full speed, but take a steady tempo and just read through the piece. Evaluate which parts of the piece are harder than the rest, maybe even mark them with a pencil, as you will be doing a lot of work on these passages and less work on the easy passages.
So we have marked out the hard passages. Now what you want to do is set a slow metronome marking, I suggest you take the work half speed to begin with. That way you get to know the notes and you don't learn the incorrect ones. Some pieces you will be able to pick up faster than others, it depends on how good your sight reading is and whether the piece is tonal or has lots of accidentals.
Here are a couple of examples of sightreading.
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