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Practice Survey


seabird
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We're curious about practice habits, both with respect to students

and teachers (or teachers who also practice -- as one hopes they

do, and which I'm sure that most do.)

Questions include:

1. How much do you practice - versus how much do you think you

*should* practice or wish you *did* practice.

2. Do you have a specific practice routine [for example, 20

minutes at a time, with a break, or separate hours set aside for

your main instrument, or a secondary instrument, or for specific

repertoire]

3. How consistent are you?

4. When do you take off? [for example, summers, holidays,

child-rearing, illness]

5. If you're a teacher, how do you present this topic to your

students; how do you monitor it; how do you promote better practice

habits.

6. Do you write down practice plans, or otherwise keep track of

your practice & goals in practicing?

7. Do you look for new repertoire, both for yourself and/or your

students, and make plans to listen, study and practice new

materials on a consistent basis?

8. Since you began studying the instruments, what is the longest

time you've gone without practicing?

9. In the long term, what have your practice habits been, and

how have they been shaped by your personal & professional

life?

10. Can you recommend any books or webpage dealing with this

topic?

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My answers:

1. I practice at least 2 hours during normal circumstance. I think 3 hours will be optimum to me.

2. I practice one hour then take a 10-15 minutes rest.

3. Quite consistent

4. Rarely take off unless I'm overwhelmed with school projects and tests.

5. N/A

6. I tried but couldn't keep up with the plan regularly

7. N/A

8. 5 days

9. I always try to be as persistent as possbile

10. N/A

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"1. How much do you practice - versus how much do you think you *should* practice or wish you *did* practice."

Average 3 hours... wish I did 4 or 5. (I'm a university student.)

"2. Do you have a specific practice routine [for example, 20 minutes at a time, with a break, or separate hours set aside for your main instrument, or a secondary instrument, or for specific repertoire]"

I always try to practice for at least half an hour first thing in the morning (before class) and then just stuff practicing in between classes and rehearsals. I usually do technique first in the day, then various pieces/sections for roughly half an hour each.

3. How consistent are you?

Very. Time varys, but I play every day.

4. When do you take off? [for example, summers, holidays, child-rearing, illness]

Holidays! And if I'm really sick.

5. If you're a teacher, how do you present this topic to your students; how do you monitor it; how do you promote better practice habits.

Ugh... I don't know, they never seem to practice.

6. Do you write down practice plans, or otherwise keep track of your practice & goals in practicing?

I draw a little smily-face (or part thereof) in my planner for each hour or part that I practice, and count up the number of hours at the end of each week.

7. Do you look for new repertoire, both for yourself and/or your students, and make plans to listen, study and practice new materials on a consistent basis?

No, its forced upon me. I'm at school.

8. Since you began studying the instruments, what is the longest time you've gone without practicing?

Probably a month last summer. (Trip overseas)

9. In the long term, what have your practice habits been, and how have they been shaped by your personal & professional life?

Just practice every day...

10. Can you recommend any books or webpage dealing with this topic?

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1. How much do you practice - versus how much do you think you *should* practice or wish you *did* practice.

I practice about 2 hours a day, and about an hour of rehersal, so I play about 3 hours a day, but I wish I could practice 3.5.

2. Do you have a specific practice routine [for example, 20 minutes at a time, with a break, or separate hours set aside for your main instrument, or a secondary instrument, or for specific repertoire]

I try and practice a half hour in the morning, then a half hour when I come home from school, and an hour after dinner.

3. How consistent are you?

I practice every day, but sometimes not as long as I'd like.

4. When do you take off? [for example, summers, holidays, child-rearing, illness]

I don't really ever not play, but when I go away on vacation I only play for about 30-45 min.

5. If you're a teacher, how do you present this topic to your students; how do you monitor it; how do you promote better practice habits.

Not a teacher

6. Do you write down practice plans, or otherwise keep track of your practice & goals in practicing?

I should, but I don't.

7. Do you look for new repertoire, both for yourself and/or your students, and make plans to listen, study and practice new materials on a consistent basis?

Yes, most the time.

8. Since you began studying the instruments, what is the longest time you've gone without practicing?

A week when we went on vacation and I couldn't bring my violin.

9. In the long term, what have your practice habits been, and how have they been shaped by your personal & professional life?

Um... I spend a lot of time practicing, and I play in lots of orchestras.

10. Can you recommend any books or webpage dealing with this topic?

???????

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1. How much do you practice - versus how much do you think you

*should* practice or wish you *did* practice.

Once I got serious about it (Sophomore year of High School, I started at 2 hours a day and built to a minimum of 4 by the time I was in College. In College and camps I practiced as much as 6-8 if my rehearsal schedule was light. Playing viola, I found I was physically limited to how long I could play so I took significant breaks every 1-2 hours. I also started an intense physical strenghtening and stretching routine that greatly increased my stamina and reduced my back pain.

As a former professional musician, who works 8-10 hours a day, teaches lessons, and has a family, I do not practice very much, and not regularly. I am blessed to have been taught well and have a good understnding of teh mechanics of my playing technique,s o I can get it back fairly quickly. I warm up correctly before playing, which maintains precision and agility at a pretty high level relative to the amateur, and free lance world I play in. If I get an opportunity to play a solo or in a high level professional environment, I pull it up a couple of notches and practice regularly as much as I can leading up to the rehearsals and performances, and manage to hold my own.

2. Do you have a specific practice routine [for example, 20

minutes at a time, with a break, or separate hours set aside for

your main instrument, or a secondary instrument, or for specific

repertoire]

See above. The most important thing to not miss is some sort of scale work for intonation and some agility work for accuracy and speed. I like Schradieck agility exercises along with 3 octave scales, two octave single string scales, and shifting exercises from 1st to 2nd position, all the way up to octave shifts. I always spent AT LEAST and hour a day on these when I was a student and professional. I also tried to never miss a day of at least going through the warm ups. I always felt like I accomplished something if I got up and did this first thing, even on Christmas or Thanksgiving. At my top form, a day or two missed was noticeable to me - I always had to work hard to have extremely precise intonation.

3. How consistent are you?

Now - rarely practice when I don't need to - as in "My Gosh, I've got to play this piece!". When my kids leave the house, I hope to reestablish a more regular routine. I enjoy it.

4. When do you take off? [for example, summers, holidays,

child-rearing, illness]

Never when I was a professional. I guess Child rearing is a good explanation or my current habits.

5. If you're a teacher, how do you present this topic to your

students; how do you monitor it; how do you promote better practice

habits.

I tell them that the best teacher in the world cannot do as much for them as they can do by practicing. I try to get them to spend 30 minutes BEFORE school doing warmups and then again after school 30 mintues to an hour. If I had a career oriented student, I would be pushing them much harder.

6. Do you write down practice plans, or otherwise keep track of

your practice & goals in practicing?

I did at the beginning - written on the inside cover of my Fleish Scale System book in 1977. After that, I developed a routine that I followed, I did not need to write it down.

7. Do you look for new repertoire, both for yourself and/or your

students, and make plans to listen, study and practice new

materials on a consistent basis?

I can sight read what my students play. Just now I have some students entering into repertoire that I need to practice (Bach Partitas and Mozart Concertos), so yes I do look at these works and I do keep my eyes open for repertoire.

8. Since you began studying the instruments, what is the longest

time you've gone without practicing?

2-3 years, I pretty much went through a phase when my kid were first born, where I practically quit. I'd pick it up once in a while and just play this or that, but did not practice.

9. In the long term, what have your practice habits been, and

how have they been shaped by your personal & professional

life?

I think I've covered this

10. Can you recommend any books or webpage dealing with this

topic?

There are people who run practice seminars who claim to teach you haow to practice more efficiently. Search the web. I think if you keep your mind in it, and really always listen and think, the practice will be beneficial. The first 5-10 years is getting repititions and building muscle memory.

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1. Generally 1-2 hours.  More on the weekends.



2. Not really.  What I work on depends on my goals for the
day.



3. Quite, with a few exceptions.





4. If I am stay-in-bed sick, or if I have long rehearsals that
night (I work during the day, and am a part of three ensembles).
 I still try to pick my violin up every day, even if it's just
for scales or something to keep my fingers refreshed on the
fingerboard.



5. I'm not a teacher





6. I keep a log of my practice sessions, so I know what I've
accomplished.





7. That's really up to my teacher for the most part.





8. It's actually been this past week with opera staging
rehearsals every night.  It was four days.





9. Working during the day and having frequent evening rehearsals
sometimes makes it difficult to get practice sessions in.  I
am strict about it on my nights off, and if I only have two-hour
rehearsals.  Sometimes, when we get into production or
performance weeks, though, it's just not possible to get practice
in.





10. No, sorry, but I'll be curious to see others'
recommendations.

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