Chunking is a specific way of grouping small “chunks” of music together for zoomed in practice. It helps you save time and frustration in the practice session!
Chunking is zooming in on tiny sections of music you’re having trouble with, so that you don’t spend an hour playing through mistakes when you could be targeting trouble spots with laser precision, in less time.
I’ve described the chunking technique in different articles over the years, but I think it’s time for me to create a definitive guide on it.
So, here’s the definitive article about chunking, to help you learn music more quickly.
I’ve created a video to show the technique where you can practice with me! The article below describes the details.
Pinpoint your trouble spot
Divide the music that you’re having trouble with into bars. Play the bars separately; are you still having trouble? Which bars? Highlight them.
What’s the smallest measure of time that you could divide the bar into, that would still make sense? This can be per beat, or per two beats, or whatever makes sense for that part (if it ends in a strange spot, include the end of the triad or whatever).
This is from a piece I was working on, Un Sospiro. I’ve divided the passage into larger chunks that make sense, using the long lines. Then, I used brackets to denote smaller chunks of one beat, or one run of the pattern.