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Showing posts from June, 2016

The Three Parts of Practicing

Think about practicing in three parts: warm up, technique and new pieces. The practicing should always have these three parts in some way, regardless of how long the session is.

Warm up should be done in the beginning for at least a few minutes. The goal of this time is to get your body moving and your brain focused, not trying to fix anything. Warm up can include actual physical stretching. This is also a good time to just play through a few review pieces.

Technique should take up most of your practicing session. The goal of this time is to try and fix something such as even tone or intonation. The main difference between technique and warm up is what the brain is focusing on. You are intentionally trying to fix a particular aspect of your playing rather than trying to get from beginning to end on a piece. Good technique work could literally involve playing open strings the entire time. In fact, this is one of the best things to do when working on tone because the sound is pur…

Which step have you reached today?

I came across the above photo while attending a session at the biannual Suzuki Association of the Americas conference.  I really liked it because it illustrates that the true challenge of learning is overcoming mental barriers more so than physical ones.  The physical challenges are almost a moot point if a student is stubbornly stuck on that bottom stair.

Nicole Brady, who was presenting the session that had this picture, said that, for her, the picture displayed exactly why she wanted to have her children learn music.  Being able to play a musical instrument was almost an additional perk.  What she really wanted was for them to go through those mental challenges starting at a very young age.

Her session struck a chord with me because I completely agree with her.  Imagine the limitless potential of each human being if we were each instilled with the tools to reach the top of that staircase.