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I have been working my way very slowly through Bach's Well Tempered Clavier for some time now.

I have essentially just started at the beginning and worked on a piece at a time and so far made it about half way through the first of two books, to a standard I am happy with.

What approaches or disciplines could I adopt to speed up learning written pieces of music?

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I think this is too broad ... there are hundreds of things you can do to improve the speed you learn music. To name five off the top off my head: Practice more, learn small sections and ensure you're playing them correctly consistently before moving on, flash cards with notes to improve recognition, finger drills, and always getting enough sleep. –  Matthew Read Apr 26 '11 at 19:56
    
It is broad but I'm asking in the hope that there are experienced musicians using the site who can provide targeted answers. –  panamack Apr 26 '11 at 20:25
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Targeted to what? You need to narrow your question. –  Matthew Read Apr 26 '11 at 20:26
    
Targeted to "learning written pieces of music". –  panamack Apr 26 '11 at 20:30
    
that is still too broad as a title. The Well Tempered Clavier is unique in its kind (even if other composers have composed sets of 24 pieces on all keys) and cannot be compared to most collections of piano pieces in this respect. The methodologies you can try for TWTK 1 or 2 are not the same either. –  ogerard May 6 '11 at 6:53
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted
  • Listen to others playing the same piece. Listening to several interpretations can help you to decide how to play that piece, finding which parts are the most entertaining for you etc. There are a lot of musicians out there playing the same piece, so you have plenty of choices to check out.
  • Try to analyze the piece from the player's point of view.
  • Spend quite a bit of time with the piece away from the instrument, try to play it in your head. When you can "listen" to the entire piece in your mind, you will know that you memorized it well musically.
  • Enjoy working on the piece as much as you can. It will definitely help in every aspect.
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