Micro And Macro Practice Strategies

Forgive me if this title and post sounds like a phD thesis in mathematics! Don’t be put off. This is just a simple, systematic way for you to practice that will help you to work through hard parts of tunes. Here is a worksheet you can print and use to help you learn and utilize this practice strategy:

Micro-practice worksheet

Micro-practice Strategies

  • Find out what’s really hard and practice that. It might just be one or two notes that you need to practice. Systematically take apart hard parts until you get to a very small difficult thing.
  • Create exercises from difficult parts. In this way, fiddle tunes will teach you everything you need to know about playing.
  • Slow practice with focus on mechanics.
  • Practice awareness of body, breath and movement while playing.

Macro-practice Strategies

  • Make it through the whole tune. Even if you have to start and stop, even if it doesn’t sound that good, JUST KEEP GOING.
  • Accept mistakes. When in macro-practice mode, let go of the desire to fix your mistakes. Just keep playing.
  • Record yourself. When you’ve played the tune a few times in a row, use the recording to find out what’s hard, what you need to practice. Try not to worry about your performance. Assume you will get better (if your practice)!
  • Listen to the tune. Try to hear it in your head, or whistle, sing or hum it.
  • Play along track practice. Use backing tracks as a fun way to play the whole tune. In order to do this, you have to know the tune well. A fun alternative to play-along tracks: play with a friend.

Here is a systematic approach. Use the worksheet to help you.

  1. Play through the tune and record yourself. (macro-practice)
  2. Listen back and ask yourself, “What was hard for me?” Write down the specific hard parts (micro-practice).
  3. Breakdown hard parts further to find out what’s really hard. Create exercises by adding rhythms, transposing and/or changing note order.
  4. Play the whole hard part a few times. Loop it.
  5.  Re-integrate into tune.

Here is an example of how to use the worksheet:


What did you discover? What new questions do you have?

Leave a Reply

7 responses to “Micro And Macro Practice Strategies

  1. Hello Jaso’n,

    I tried this technique today with a tune called The Orphan and it worked for me. Thank you for all of these very useful tips.
    Tapping myself is a revelation, and I laugh as I write this having hope that it can only get better.
    I did discover the result of playing a loop over and over again until it becomes second nature, and I love that.

    I also tried playing a tune for ten minutes straight with a tune called Jessica’s Polka, and I realized I can play something from memory. That also gives me hope for many more tunes in the future.

  2. I decided to try the micro practice sheet but I had some trouble downloading it. I looked and the link and noticed it was a concatenation of the same link twice, see below.


    I tried just using the first half (below) and it downloaded just fine, so i thought I would post here in case anyone was having similar issues.


    Really enjoying the site. Thanks