I’ve realized that when it comes to written or arranged music, much of my practice is dedicated to maintenance. Mainly because over time, muscles need a refresher. Memories fade! Particularly with hard music!

How can we minimize the time spent maintaining a high technical standard? Improvising musicians have an inherent solution. Their notes can be variable to maintain their standards. Can’t play fast today? Then play slow!

But musicians who are dedicated to reading music have a problem. They may know a piece perfectly today, but if they pick up that piece years or months later untouched, they’ll have to relearn it (not completely, just parts of it). Is this avoidable? I don’t think so. But I think it can be managed, especially if the initial learning of the piece is undertaken with lots of patience and discipline.

I’m still exploring. Any thoughts? If you decide to recycle a piece a year later, how long does it take to get it back in shape? How do you minimize that time?

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