I made a new discovery a few days ago that is helping me through some tough technique issues. I was working on the Larry Young composition Talkin’ About J.C.. It’s uptempo and has a very difficult melody to play, mainly because it requires fast articulation of the fourth and fifth fingers of the right hand.
So I was beating myself over the head trying to play it when I realized that the first four notes are very easy to articulate because they just use the 2nd-4th fingers. Then the next two notes are easy because it’s just a descending minor 6th dropping from the pinky down to the thumb.
I found that as long as I concentrated on keeping the two movements separate, the passage became a lot easier and cleaner. As I practiced the melody, I had to focus on keeping my thinking organized and not slipping into autopilot.
When I performed the song at a gig, the thoughtful practicing enabled autopilot to take over and I could just concentrate on making the performance good.