Learn the Art of Practicing
- Have proper materials ready like your instrument, pencil, a metronome/tuner, practice chart, music, and a recording device (optional but recommended highly).
- Practice Chart – organized by month and days of the week, a goal is to physically fill in with repertoire and time spent on each.
- Always “practice in small bits” every single day - We all can get overwhelmed with a big task, even one that’s as fun as playing your favorite song on the violin. That’s why it’s easier to focus on pieces (ie. one measure at a time, working on just the bow or just the fingers, sing intervals or rhythm, dynamics, etc.) When those little bits are easy to do after many many repetitions, start putting the pieces together.
- Organize your practice session – start with a warm-up (scales, etudes), spend a substantial amount of time/work on core pieces with clear goals, and cool down with some favorite old songs or sightreading. There should be two types of practicing: 1) slow and detailed work that needs lots of thinking and preparing, and 2) preview and review practice means running through the song from beginning to end to get that sense of “flow.”
- Listen to recordings only AFTER you have done your homework – Composers write out music on paper for a reason and we, as performers, are given an abundance of hints such as tempi, dynamics, mood, and of course notes, bowings, and rhythm (thank goodness!) We should learn to become “sponges” and be able to find all the details on the page (like a scavenger hunt) and know how to make the best use of them. Recordings only serve as a confirmation to what we’ve worked on and it can help us interpret a piece differently from our own perspective. Never “copy” another person’s playing, but please be inspired.
- Perfect your intonation. No excuses. PDF is taken from www.violinmasterclass.com.
If you have discovered any other practice tips, be sure to comment below so everyone can learn from each other. Thanks for the input!