Helpful Harp Hint Tuesday: Productive Practicing Includes Sleep Aug 4, 2015
Waiting to the last minute or "cramming" may work when studying for a test. It rarely works when preparing for a performance.
There's a lot more to learning music than memory work. Music is spatial, it's relationship between the map on the page and the instrument, it's phrasing, dynamics, fingerings, listening, remembering tempo, notes, melody, inner voices. There's simply too much involved to think that if you're not ready for a recital that a week of extra practice time is going to cause any appreciable preparation.
Working memory helps you hold on to information only long enough to use it. If you don't use it right away, you'll lose it. It's transient, short term. With so many different aspects of a performance demanding attention at the same time this sort of transient, short term preparation is a recipe for failure.
What to do? Research show that short amounts of regular practice is more likely to help you learn your music. Practice over a longer period of time also allows the brain to process new information during sleep as well. Especially when a piece is new to your hands and brain, the importance of what your brain does with that new information while you sleep is important to the learning process.
Cramming music is rarely effective. It could be that sleep is more important to productive practice extra hours at your harp!
For more information about your brain and your music, read this from violist +Molly Gebrian