Piano Lessons in Jackson, NJ

Interleaved Practice

Friday, March 24, 2023 by Elena Papavero | Piano Practice

Interleaved Practice

Practice random parts of your piece to make practice more effective and enjoyable!


Start by dividing your piece with a pencil in larger sections for example A, B and C. Then divide each section in small parts, 1-2 measures each. 


Practice each of the small parts like this:

Remember: Keep a musical intent from the very first note. This will put you in a mindset of always looking for meaning and beauty, and it will always be a joy to play even the tiniest bit of a piece!

1. Hands separate: Learn to play with perfect tone and expression as you correctly learn the notes and the rhythm.

  • Repeat at least 4 times without mistakes, but you should play better and more beautiful each time than the previous- this is key! 

2. Hands together: Now it’s essential to play at only half the speed you could play hands separately comfortably before. This is crucial! You want to avoid making any mistakes at all. 

  • Repeat as before 4 times without mistakes and keep improving for each repeat. Never repeat precisely the same- always make it better. This will force you to constantly listen and evaluate.

Always practice the parts and sections in random order

For example, don't start at the beginning. Start with Section B, part 3. Then Section B part 1, or whatever in that section- but not in order!

To keep all parts at the same level, you need to remember what parts have been practiced. Do not practice a part again until all parts in this section of the piece have been practiced! So, make sure to make a small check-mark for each part after practicing.

  • After all the small parts have been learned randomly, it’s time to link these small parts to form larger parts. For example, if you had 1 measure per part, combine 2 measures for medium parts.

  • Repeat the practice routine with the medium parts, but always in random order until you have completed them all in that section of the piece. The only difference is that this time (after combining the hands together in half tempo), you can increase speed a little for each repeat.

  • Use the metronome to set a goal, and make sure you get all medium parts to the same tempo. 
  • Now, depending on the length of the section (or piece), you may need to do this more times by doubling the measure groups each time.

  • Use the same practice routine again, but you can gradually increase the speed now.

  • Finally, play the whole section in the same way; hands separate; repeat and improve, hands together; half tempo, repeat, improve and increase speed and musical expression.

  • Then continue with the rest of the piece in the same way until all parts from small to large have been learned and combined.