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To help with my practice and to hopefully start to progress again without becoming too discouraged can anyone suggest a simple practice routine that will help keep me motivated.
I had been doing finger exercises, bowing exercises, scales, Time charts, new song, old song.
At this point just getting the fiddle tuned up seems to take me 15 minutes. Uggh..
I want to resume with short intervals. Should I focus on one item at a session or do small bites out of each? and if small bites, how do I decide what to do on what day?
What would you have a beginning student do?
Learn Wohlfahrt etude #1 and then play with different bowings.
and then #2
Use fourth finger as much as possible. This forces your ear to get involved and tuning to be less important.
Pick one arpeggio and go for speed. Learn to do it without tension.
Learn FMs "You Raise Me Up". Gets you started on high E string.
I hate sounding like I know what I'm talking about, because I really don't.
For just getting back into it, for myself I would pick something fun. A tune you would like to learn, either off sheet or from a youtube lesson (something like Fiddlerman's Tune a Week videos). Boost yourself up by just playing a little and then move into your scales and etudes, you'll know when you're ready for something meatier.
And this is exactly what I have done for myself when I start to feel down about my playing. If I feel discouraged I ignore opening up my practice with my usual etude/scales/shifting and just play tunes I know or work on something new that seems fun. Almost my whole first year was nothing but learning tunes, I didn't do etudes and scales until I had been playing a year. So I had my fun then got to work, lol.
World's Okayest Fiddler
This is a side issue, but to solve the tuning problem, I'd recommend getting Wittner or Perfection Pegs. MUCH easier to tune, and things don't come out of tune nearly as readily to begin with. (The tuning on my violin gets checked when I go for my lesson, but it's not uncommon that it doesn't need any changes, and I almost never have to tune it at home.)
There's no way I can suggest a practice route that would help motivate you without doing what I would do with any beginning student?
What motivates you? Why do you want to play the violin and/or get better at it? Is it getting better at techniques? Playing a particular genre or genres of music? Playing with other people? What kind of playing with other people? Pickup jams with people on the street or in the park? Clubs? Orchestra? Soloist in front of an orchestra? All of those demand different skillsets and different practice regimes, and the driver that will keep you doing the things you need to do so that you can do the things you want to do will probably be different.
So what do you want, and why?
Secondary question, how long is a "short interval"? I reactivated an old shoulder injury several months back (by changing strings!) and went through a period where I couldn't play more than 2-3 minutes at one time. If a practice interval is that short, doing what Pierre suggested (some mix and match of at least a few different things to avoid boredom) isn't practical. If "short" is a half hour, it is.
Another thing that would help with suggesting a routine, what things in the stuff you were doing before did you * like, * were neutral about, and * hated? (If there wasn't anything you hated, that's fine. It's good, even.)