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Share your practice routine!


Mungo
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I'm an adult beginner and am trying to develop a good, effective practice routine. I would be very interested to hear about other people's routines: how long do you practice, what do you work on daily, what proportion of time for scales or etudes vs. pieces...? It would be great, too, if people could say what their involvement with the instrument is - I'm assuming amateur players like myself would have a very different routine than a conservatory student or professional would. Many thanks! -M.

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I am studying the classical guitar as an ammy and do about 2 hours of practice a night. As such I have developed an amazing routine that allows me to keep about 20 pieces ready for performance. I keep this document next to my music stand and check mark the stuff as I go through it. To me one of the coolest features of this routine is how the repertoire is put into BINS on page 2. These bins give very specific focus to a piece during a pracice and keeps me from just playing without focus.

http://www.kfisherx.com/Guitar/HowTo/Guita...%20Schedule.doc

I only practice the violin for about 30 minutes but I use the same idea for that. I just started with a new teacher though so I am only doing 1 piece at this time.

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I'm afraid I'm too much of a free spirit to guide my practice by that chart Karla, but for folks that are into that sort of thing (like my husband!), it looks great.

Personally, I really don't need a set routine or length of time to do my practice. I know what my assignments from my teacher are, what she expects me to have accomplished by my next lesson and I work it from there. Unlike my husband, I have a "flaky artist" temperament, so the muse must move me to do anything. Sometimes it moves me to do nothing, so I just play what strikes my fancy.

The most structured thing about my practicing is that I tend to practice at a fairly regular time (between 7PM and 9PM during the week), typically around an hour (more during orchestra season, less in the summer). On the weekends, I'll usually hit the music room in the middle of the afternoon.

Mungo: To answer your question in my case, I'm definitely amateur. Loosely translated its French meaning is "for the love of it" and that's definitely why I do it. I have been paid to play so I suppose that makes me a professional though.

Since you are a beginner, my experience has been that it's best not to over-practice until your muscles and body become acclimated to the physical position of playing. It's better to do two or three 15 minute practices spread out during the day than to try for a marathon one hour session of Twinkles. It's rather like the same reason we eat three meals a day versus one huge one: takes time to digest it all properly and not end up feeling miserable.

Welcome to the violin. It's a great hang!

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Mungo,

You may end up with responses varying from light suggestions to dogma. You should, however, seek the advice of your teacher.

To answer your questions:

I will accept and have accepted money to play, so I suppose you could call me a professional. As for skill level...have never performed the Ernst before an audience. Maybe someday, when they'll pay to see something other than "child prodigies" perform it. Otherwise, you will find me in the local Sunday Market and a "music minus one" cd (do they make that one?) Might hear me play it as the background in an industrial movie if you get a job as an assembly line worker?

Currently, I practice strictly technique for one half to an hour per day. The content and duration depends upon my intentions and sometimes my mood. Kriesler, Sevick are a mainstay in my quiver, so are the Flesch scales, although I've created my own system that I practice for more modern performance music. (Fisher is another that I think I'll be adding again). I pick specific etudes/exercises for specific problems. So, the order and number of them will vary depending upon circumstances.

I spend another one-half to one-hour on pieces. M-F, these session are broken up between two sessions that occur at different times of the day, which I find help me focus upon their specific goals and use.

As I have a fairly busy life, I augment this practice routine with a 10 to 15 minute practice plan, when I can't get in the full hour or two, which occurs more frequently than I'd like.

Sight reading and ear training are very important to me. I fit these in where possible during the week, even while at work, commuting, & etc.; and focus upon them during the week-ends between piano and violin.

I stake much in my ability to memorize pieces upon one or two readings which allows me to segment practices and focus strictly on technique and performance at long stretches. I don't know if I'd recommend what I do to anyone who does not memorize quickly.

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