1. PRACTICE Intelligently and with a metronome!
2. When you encounter a troublesome area, ISOLATE it and work it out at a slower tempo, drill it to perfection, then gradually increase the tempo. Finally, incorporate it into the main body of work.
3. Learn the piece in the same tempo. Do not play the easier section faster than the more difficult passages.
4. If or when you encounter a technical challenge, once again, slow it down, and drill it. I find that if you change the rhythm of the technical area, this will help tremendously! What I mean by this is as follows: Let's say the line is a series of sixteenth notes, change the rhythm to short/long, short/long or long /short, long/short. You need to change your paradigm, so that you don't play yourself into a rut!
5. Practice the LAST measure 1st! Then add the measure before it, etc., etc., so that you are constantly reinforcing previously learned material.
6. Add dynamics, ornaments, tempo fluctuations as final musical elements, so that your performance is musical and interesting. Do not forget that making music is an art form; add your heart & soul to your performance. MAKE MUSIC!!!
7. SPELL & FINGER out your scales just like spelling out your name! "IF YOU CAN SAY IT, YOU CAN PLAY IT!"
8. PRACTICE SIGHT READING @ LEAST 5 MINUTES A DAY!!!!!!!
(a) Once you get the tempo from the adjudicator, IMMEDIATELY tap your foot to that tempo and DO NOT stop tapping that tempo until you leave the room!
(b) Determine your KEY & TIME SIGNATURE,
(c) Scan for technical areas 1st and then look for dynamic, tempo fluctuations, etc.,
(d) Finger the rhythms as many times as possible silently in your head!,
(e) Once you begin to play, DO NOT STOP AND/OR CORRECT A PERCEIVED MISTAKE! Just keep playing!