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Tuesday Tips: POGO by Josh Gottry

Dec 14, 2021, 08:00 AM by Rhythm Scene Staff

Everyone is familiar with a BOGO — a buy-one-get-one-free deal. It’s one of the most straight-forward sales a store can offer, and it instantly increases movement of product off the shelf. So, what’s a POGO? According to a band director colleague of mine, it’s a practice-one-get-one-free deal that applies to most music we encounter. Let me explain.

Most music is repetitive. A 12-bar blues is the same 12 measures over and over again. The AABA song form repeats the same A section three times. Rondo form is ABACA…, repeating the primary theme between each contrasting episode. Sonata form has a section that is called the recapitulation, which is, not surprisingly, a repetition of the opening exposition section. We could go on and on with this, but the point is pretty well made: music is generally repetitive.

Since music is repetitive, any section of music that repeats should only need to be learned once, and that learning can then be applied each time the section returns. This might be a single pattern, a few measures, a phrase, a couple of phrases, or an entire form; either way, the repetition allows you to play more music with less practice.

Application is pretty simple as well. When learning a new piece, look for repetition. As you practice and learn the piece, don’t spend time on content that is repetitive, since you’ve already learned it. Use your time as efficiently as possible to practice unfamiliar content as much as needed. Once it’s familiar and you encounter one of those repetitions, either play through the phrase or passage as a quick review or feel free to skip ahead, knowing that you’ve already got that portion of the music ready to go.

Enjoy the good deal and make the most of your POGO opportunities.

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