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How to Practice Without Your Instrument- Score Studying

Intro to Score Studying

What is Score Studying?

SCORE STUDYING is studying your music away from your instrument. It allows you to learn, organize, strategize, and understand your music at a deeper and clearer level.

(So if you’re lacking time or without your instrument/practice room, this is a very effective way form of practice!)

What does it look like?

Score studying looks like taking a few minutes to a dedicated chunk of time (ex. 30 mins) away from your instrument with a pencil, eraser, your music and some recordings to study and devise a plan of action with your music.

Why is Score Studying so Helpful?

Score studying allows you to learn your music BEFORE teaching your body

HOW to do it.

The mind and the inner ear need to understand what it wants, or it will be even more difficult to figure that out WHILE trying to teach your body HOW to do it.

Some ways to LEARN your music away from your instrument:

  • WRITE down your fingerings, notes on the ledger line, counting, locate inner lines of music

  • ANALYZE your music for: patterns, chords, scales, phrases, sections of the music, chord progressions, cadences, key changes - you are developing the “map” of your music

  • NOTICE what technique needs to be used where

  • LISTEN to the music with score in front of you and mark in phrasing you like

  • DECIDE on phrasing - what is the character of each section/phrase - how can that be achieved (further breakdown here)

Some ways to ORGANIZE and STRATEGIZE your music away from your instrument:

  • LOCATE the tricky passages needed to be tackled first in the practice session

  • WRITE DOWN THE PRACTICE STRATEGIES you will use to master a passage (slow practice, metronome, rhythms, articulation, transposition etc)

  • DECIDE the size of a section you’ll practice or memorize

  • MAP OUT the phrasing and progression of emotions through the music - where is the climax, the places where the music settles? what’s the emotional journey

  • ORGANIZE what you will practice and in what order (start with the easy things? Tackle the new passages?)

What music would you want me to score study with you?

Write it in the comments below!

Happy Practicing!


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