Awareness Through Variation with Katie O’Rourke

This is a special post courtesy of the very talented Katie O’Rourke and her study of movement and musicianship. She has prepared a worksheet for musicians to use to enhance their practice.

Here’s what she has to say about it:

“Current research shows that practicing a kinesthetic task with variation upon each repetition enables us to learn twice as fast! One commonly used practice technique is to change straight eighth or sixteenth rhythms to dotted rhythms.

You could change dynamic markings or musical phrasing. Brainstorm your own ideas of ways to create variation in music practice before checking out this list.

There are SOOOO many things we can change musically and physically when we play. When practicing with variation, avoid searching for the right answer or trying to solve a problem.

Let go of your inner critic, enter a state of non-judgement. Exploring music in this way allows us to deepen our awareness, build control, and grow our creative process!

This PDF was used in a presentation. The first page is for older students, and the second page is intended for children.

I have to admit that I find the kid version pretty appealing, so take your pick! “

CLICK HERE to get your copy of the Awareness Through Variation Practice PDF!

Katie is a piano teacher and performer in Seattle, as well as a member of SMTA and Ladies Musical Club. After years of dealing with chronic pain and at the suggestion of a teacher, she began studying the Feldenkrais method.

The therapeutic benefits and exploratory pedagogical approach inspired Katie to become a Feldenkrais practitioner. She is certified to teach Feldenkrais group classes, and hopes to use her knowledge to work with injured musicians and to develop Feldenkrais-inspired teaching materials.

Katie’s other interests include Dalcroze Eurythmics, composition, cooking, and hiking.

For more from Katie, visit

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