Simplify your learning

One thing that I hear in my head from my teachers, is to simplify the learning process of a new piece of music. I don't know about you, but when I get new music, especially one I really like, I want to play all the chords. They sound so full and pretty, but then there is a pregnant pause as I struggle to get my fingers ready for the next chord progression.

A simple solution is to play the melody in the top note of the treble clef and the bottom note of the base clef. Once that is firmly in my ear and motor memory, the other fingers fall into place much easier. When I take the discipline to follow this, I learn the piece much faster.

Another benefit of doing this is that often full chording is not needed or even preferred. Simplicity balances well with full chording. For me, it is more important to have the time for dynamics that simplicity brings. Then when the chords are played, there is that contrast and balance.