Ed Butler wrote:David - when you start a new piece - how do you attack it. Look at patterns? look at fingerings?
The first thing I do is to watch Jean-Francois play it several times - in order to get a feel for how the piece is supposed to sound. At this stage I have an idea if there are any repeated patterns, also watching JF's fingers and trying to think about dynamics a bit as well. The theory here is of course that if I make any glaring errors when I come to practice the piece, I will immediately spot them because I know in my head how the piece is supposed to sound.
Then I play the whole thing all the way through, without worrying too much about fingerings, this gives me an idea of where the difficult bits are and where I need to sort out the fingerings.
Having identified the difficult bits I might go back and have a closer look at how JF plays them, play it through and experiment with different options and sort out my own fingerings for the hard bits.
Once I have the difficult bits sorted it is time to go back to the beginning and play it all the way through, thinking about dynamics and how I think it should sound. At this stage I might play the video of JF on my laptop and play along with him. Also a good idea to record yourself at this stage and once again play the recording of JF in order to compare the differences.
I'm sure that if you ask 10 people this question you will get 10 different answers. I guess you just have to try different things and see what works for you.
Hope this helps Ed.