The title of this blog is exactly as written – this is about how to practice and learn music without playing a note! The meaning behind this is simply getting to know the sheet music of your piece and listening to the piece (as many different versions as you can). We are blessed with You Tube and have access to so much music today that it is easy to listen to your piece played by many wonderful pianists. An exercise by itself is to have your music on your iPod or in the car and listen to it often so it is planted in the memory. Knowing the sheet music is as simple as sitting down and really studying the music for your piece. This is a powerful practice as you are imprinting everything on your visual memory. You can go further with this and start to mark out sections and write on the music. I would take the main theme and mark where it appears throughout the piece. Maybe there is a key change in the middle section – write that in too. Look at chords possibly in the bass clef and identify them and write some in. This exercise is wonderful for really getting to know your piece. Ask your teacher for guidance on this if you need to.
You can combine the two exercises of reading music and listening to music and put on the music while reading the score. I highly recommend this to students especially in higher grades where you need to develop independence and have a lot to cover. A more advanced piece can look daunting and it will be made so much more inaccessible by not approaching it in different ways. Applying the read and listen technique of practice demystyfies the music and puts you on a more level playing field with it. By having it audible it becomes more real, then by reading the music and following it as you listen you are developing memory and becoming more and more familiar with the piece. It’s a great technique I always use, so give it a try and enjoy the results!