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Chief Examiner John Holmes shares his practice tips

When it comes to music practice, reverse chaining is a great way to work on a piece. Reverse, or backward, chaining is used in a variety of educational settings and in music, it can transform longer more challenging pieces of music into manageable chunks. Chaining sounds complex, but is actually quite simple. You practise the very last bit first, and then when you’ve got that ‘perfected’, you practise the section that leads up to it, and so on. So you start at the end and work backwards.

Often it’s too easy to stay within the comfort of the familiar first few bars and avoid practising the more difficult end sections. Reversing this, from time to time, by beginning at the end means you spend enough time on the later sections. You are also moving towards the familiar rather than the unfamiliar, which in itself can help to build musical security and confidence.

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