As you practice your music, divide it into smaller sections or "bite-size pieces". The more difficult the music, the smaller the sections need to be. On one song you might work on each section from rehearsal number or letter to the next. Another might be in 4 measure sections, a harder song in 2 measure sections, a very difficult song in one measure sections.
Learn each section very well using Step 1 – Say The Rhythm, Step 2 – Identify The Notes, and Step 3 – Rhythm Positions. When you can do all of these steps well, then play the section and learn the notes well with a great tone. Use the Low-Middle- High Approach to make sure you are playing the correct notes.
When you have learned all of the sections and can play each one very well, now start putting them together into larger sections. You will find it is easier to connect sections of music together when you can already play them well. Keep connecting all of the sections together until you can play the entire song.
This may seem like a lot of work, but it is MUCH faster and easier than learning your music incorrectly and having to re-learn it after you have been playing it wrong when you practice. Take the time to learn the music correctly using the steps first and you will save yourself even more time by avoiding mistakes in the first place.
It's like your health: It's much easier to take care of yourself and try to stay healthy than it is to just get sick and then try to find a cure. It doesn't mean you won't still get sick sometimes, but it usually isn't as bad. Keep your practice healthy and learn it correctly from the start.
Copyright Norlan Bewley 1999