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Practice Tactics
Strategy tips that help us become better.
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ELCBK
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February 25, 2021 - 10:37 am
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Found this great concept for practicing scales - a bit much for me, but I'm considering trying anyway. 😁  

How to Practice Scales For More Benefit - Christian Howes

 

Here's links to other threads on the forum, for great help with practice! 

 

giphy.gif

 

I know I've seen more somewhere...  

- Emily

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ELCBK
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There always seems to be discussion about practice and recently it's become quite important for me to consider - just how much TIME to practice? 

Trying to get our household somewhat back to normal while Daughter's not completely recovered from Meningitis and stuff with the Grandkids has meant not practicing as much as I'd like... and it shows!  Don't even feel I'm playing as well as before my Daughter got sick. 

So, it's not enough for me just to learn - even maintaining what little proficiency I've gained and remembering old tunes is a challenge! 

I think we all struggle with crazy things in our lives that can make a practice schedule hard to follow.  I even remember reading about an old fiddler that had to practice out in his car because his wife didn't want to hear him in the house!

According to the Professor, we all need to be efficiently practicing at least 4 to 5 hours per day, if we hope to be "a really, really, really, good violinist"!  I was surprised at the emphasis on recording a play through at the end of each practice.  (Virtual Sheet Music)

Setting Up Your Violin Practice Schedule

This video has good tips that could help you practice better - whether you have a Teacher, are taking Workshops or are teaching yourself.  (Virtual Sheet Music)

8 Tips or Ideas on Being a Violin Student

You can read about Prof William Fitzpatrick here at Violinist.com - 

Prof William Fitzpatrick

Any of you expecting more - for less practice time? 

giphy.gif

 

 

...my realistic expectations - just lowered, for now. 🤔

- Emily

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stringy
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I think scales really are the key to everything, they can be used for practicing shifting, bowing techniques, intonation, and all kinds of other things.

I know other people will have different ideas, but for me the  basics, scales, arpeggios and the like cant be beaten.

I also like the simple jigs and reels, which are great practice and really entertaining to play, but I also like practicing more difficult pieces, like a couple of baroque ones I am doing at the moment, realĺy good for reading practice.

I was practicing two hours a day u til just recently if you read one of my other posts, but I think quality slow practice is best, without slipping into messing around which I do all to easily. At the moment I am waiting to hear back from a violinist who was performing with a shakespeare company about lessons, very good musician.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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AndrewH
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August 16, 2021 - 7:38 pm
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I've only averaged more than 2 hours a day for two short periods in my life (six months in 2007, about a month in 2017). For most of the time I've been playing, I've had less than an hour a day to practice. Since last year's car accident, I would guess that most members of this forum have been practicing more per day than I do per week. For me, it's always been about efficiency, as I've described in several past posts. I spend virtually no time playing through pieces (any piece I'm working on rarely gets more than one play-through in two or three weeks), and I hyper-focus on problem spots.

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ABitRusty
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August 16, 2021 - 7:43 pm
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@elcbk he did go on to say that for some the five hour thing wouldnt be practical and a better way to assign time would be percentage of your practice session for each type.

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ELCBK
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August 17, 2021 - 3:31 am
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Just thinking there may be an optimum practice time frame - and maybe we shouldn't expect to become great at this unless we "do the time". 

@ABitRusty -

Now you made me go back & listen again! (lol)  

...I can't find where he says that (help me out, if you have time).

I found where he was lenient on goals & said (approx), "I reduced Ms. Delay's practice schedule down to 4 hours, but if you wish to do 5 hours, just apply the percentages". 

 
So, now I'm wondering who practices longer each day - Professional Violinists vs. Professional Fiddler? 

Itzhak Perlman - he says violinists should practice no more than 5 hours per day.  Says he used to start with 1 hour of scales and the next hour was etudes - now that he 'paid his dues' when younger, he only averages 3 hours per day. 

Here's the article at cmuse.org -

How and How Long Should You Practice? Violinist Itzhak Perlman Weighs In

I'll have to search more, later. 🥱

...not that I'm trying to become like Itzhak Perlman. 

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Gordon Shumway
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I thought Perlman said no more than 4 hours? Some of it may be whimsy, so it varies, depending on what mood he's in.

I decided 3 hours would be right for me, but I was only achieving it until a year ago, before the lockdown, and a lesson every 4 months, demotivated me.

Andrew

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ABitRusty
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@elcbk if you watch around 1:14 and on He shows a schedule then says that around 1:40 or so

 

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty -

Ah ha!  Thanx!

Immediately after, he says, "I realize I have reduced Ms. Delay's 5 hours down to 4..." - so, I took that in reference to it. 

🤔... I just might have to ask!

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AndrewH
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I do want to note that the recent trend has been for recommended amounts of practice time to decrease, now that there is more awareness of the terrifying rate of injuries among professional string players. There are now multiple studies showing that over 90% of professional string players have suffered playing-related injuries, and 70-80% have been forced to take time off due to injuries.

 

I do not know a single professional or high-level amateur violist older than 30 who has not had to take time off because of an injury.

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Gordon Shumway
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AndrewH said
I do want to note that the recent trend has been for recommended amounts of practice time to decrease... 

Doesn't surprise me.

I wonder if, in addition to professional injury, there's also a problem with the countless desperate students who want to be soloists who are driven by (self- or parental) ambition into practising (really practising, or just playing?) until they bleed, without necessarily sounding any better for it.

My teacher says she practised for 5 or 6 hours a day when she was at conservatory 30 years ago.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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August 18, 2021 - 10:57 pm
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There's no way I'm going to play 4 hours straight thru, every day! 

I do think it's a great idea to try to put in more time in if you can, but it's because I see no problem in splitting time up during a day. 

Three hours isn't unreasonable if I split up that time.    

 

...but then again, I do not differentiate between playing, learning, and practicing. 

I've just slacked off here recently. 

- Emily

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Gordon Shumway
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ELCBK said
There's no way I'm going to play 4 hours straight thru, every day!   

Nobody should. You can do 20 minutes on, 10 minutes off, or 50 minutes on 10 minutes off. Or find out how long it takes to hurt and next time stop before it does.

Andrew

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ABitRusty
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those 5 hours take away from something else...if someone has family..job..etc..something would have to suffer..  on the other hand..i got the impression that this practice schedule was for a music major in college or pro muscian.

Im not every day now..lucky to get any time lately.  its hit and miss..  i can get a week where ill get an hour in for maybe 3 days..then revist after a day or two with a few minutes...then a day or two with an hour or so.   I cant ever recall going 5 hours and dont think i could.

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ELCBK
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August 18, 2021 - 11:33 pm
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I still haven't found much of anything about how long professional 'Fiddlers' practice. 

If anyone knows... I'm just curious. 

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Gordon Shumway
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ELCBK said
I still haven't found much of anything about how long professional 'Fiddlers' practice. 

If anyone knows... I'm just curious. 

  

The problem is that most fiddlers probably don't practise formally in the way classical musicians practise. I suspect (old time) fiddlers just played stuff over and over again, partly because they had to memorise all the pieces, partly because they didn't have academics overseeing them, and partly because it was a family thing (or a local neighbourhood social thing) and they joined in with gigs and so on until one day they became good, and "practise hours", or hours of just playing, simply never got totted up.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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https://relatably.com/q/img/violin-quotes/eb96e62b8675be523fcd8b68957bb830.jpg

 

Geez... I almost feel motivated! 

- Emily

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Mouse
August 19, 2021 - 9:19 am
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I have been reading these. It seems to me that something that is forgotten, and I mention it so guests reading these posts don't say, "That is way more time than I have to devote to learning my instrument," and just toss it.

I think how much time spent depends on a lot of factors and there is no one shoe fits all. Does it matter how much time some professional practices? I don't really think so. What matters is, your goals, the time you have so as not to take away from something else, thereby, lessening the enjoyment of it because there is something else you should do or enjoy doing that no longer is able to be done, enjoying it, etc.

Everyone has different goals. Maybe they just want to learn to be able to play it to their own enjoyment, absolutely nothing wrong with that. Maybe, they do not have 3-4 or more hours everyday. Nothing wrong with that. Do it whenever you feel you can and can do it while enjoying it.

I think that comparing your schedule to others is not, necessarily, conducive to the instrumentalist enjoying their instrument. It all depends on their own goals, their available time, and personal preference.

So, I would not be overly concerned with these sessions that take up too much of a person's day. In the grand scheme of things, if you are doing this for enjoyment and not planning to do it professionally, enjoy the practice and playing time with a schedule, or even not a rigid schedule, that suits you, and gets you to where you want to be.

I have nothing against the rigid schedules above, but I do think that readers need to realize that they are lofty goals by few people, in the grand scheme of things. Terrific if you can do it and enjoy it, but I think individual needs and life situations need to be taken into consideration. Trying to make other people's goals, routines, etc, not really suited for most everyone else, your goals, routines, etc, in my opinion, will only put up a road block of "not being able to do that", in many people's mindset who are not out to be professionals. Many can learn to play very well for their own enjoyment and satisfaction without 3-4 or more hours, putting the rest of your life aside.

Just a thought. I think we should live up to our own expectations and goals. I am not saying that if you enjoy the push, etc, that you are wrong. Like I said, one shoe does not fit all, and this is just another shoe size. Also, knowing others' routines can help you build your own, if you base it on a routine of like goals, and, if possible, like circumstances. So, just another look for those looking for self enjoyment and not professional.

I hope I said this right. Still fighting the pain. I was trying to hold back with any posting because of maybe not thinking clearly at the moment, but I wanted to present a thought for the learner with non-professional aspirations. I just kept thinking this as I read the posts, and finally decided to reply. If I stepped on a toe, was seriously unintentional. Was not meant to debate the rigorous routines, just to show other alternatives for a lighter routines can be used, if applicable to you.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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ELCBK
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August 19, 2021 - 1:47 pm
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Having an efficient schedule that suits each individual, is suggested all throughout this thread and all the threads it links to. 

Thanks, Everyone for this discussion! 

I'm in the process of figuring out what's right for me, so that I can move forward and don't take a step backwards.  Even if I put in 3 hours a day, it would NOT be the kind of practice that is suggested. (lol)  

The video I presented starts off "So, you want to be a really, really, really good violinist?..."  And proceeds to show how this is taught to achieve that goal. 

We all watch Violinists and Fiddlers perform on stage, in film, YouTube videos and listen to CDs. 

It's easy to understand why beginners believe that is how we should all sound. 

My point is, maybe don't expect to reach that level if you are not able to put in the work involved to make it happen. 

I, personally, don't need to reach that level of playing to enjoy playing the violin/fiddle.   

https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/t/music-signs-coming-magic-hat-white-background-74483875.jpg

 

 

No matter beginner or seasoned player - all of us should appreciate that we are the Magicians that coax the music from our wooden (or CF) box! 

- Emily

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Gordon Shumway
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I'm not sure why everyone seems to be aiming at 3 or 4 hours per day.

My own desire to do 3 is for quite specific reasons - I want to be as good on the violin as I was on the piano and oboe 40 years ago, and I want it asap before the arthritis kicks in and so that I can meet people. Others don't have my needs.

As a kid I did maybe 1 to 2 hours per day absolute max and that would be fine for most adults. An hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon would be great for any amateur adult. Unfortunately I am addicted to reading and that takes my mornings away.

Andrew

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