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two mcuh tehcnicla pracitce?

January 18, 2007 at 12:21 AM

Greetings,
was inspired to write this blog by Al, who relentlessly practice technique for two hours everyday.
Al, just a thought, but unless you are practicing between four and five hours everyday there is quite a serious imbalance in what you are doing in terms of technical versus musical work. I know that a) you work better than a lot of beginners because of your musical know how and b) every individual is different.
But, there does exist knowledge about practicing, playing, performing in this field which have proven relentlessly correct. One of which is that technique is only a means to an end. Unfortunately this has acquired a somewhat distorted interpretation of: thus the more technical practice I do the better my end will be (not Sharon Stone’s). This is a highly inaccurate interpretation of the idea `the better technique I have the better the end result. `
Where the position breaks down is that when the violin is approached this way technique becomes compartmentalized as something separate from expressing the music inside you. This actually results in inefficient practice. What I think happens is you lose the `highly efficient` processing opportunity of a technique falling effortlessly into place because the mind is actually focused on higher order expression and the subconscious or `self 2` according to the inner game of tennis , is being trusted to do the right thing automatically.
Very often the goal itself can be the means!!!
The other danger of this approach to the instrument is that little by little one begins to see music in terms of a series of technical challenges to be overcome. Once this slippery road has been chosen our long term goals of getting up in front of people and moving them to tears or at least to sling their underpants at you becomes an increasingly elusive goal. How often has it occurred that a less than perfect player has touched you to the very core while a note perfect machine has left one cold and unsatisfied. (A year or two ago I heard a Japanese violinist play the Saints Seans so utterly flawlessly it would have put Heifetz and Milstein to shame. There was so little passion , tenderness or humanity in her playing I wanted to leave after the first page.... )
To be even more concrete , the one factor in playing that really begins to disappear with excessive technical work at any level is nuance, a factor of dynamics, tempo (subsumes rhythm and rubato) and all types of accent. When learning a new piece I strictly advise my students to focus most of all on nuance (especially dynamics) and big picture of interpretation for a couple of weeks before breaking things down in technical terms. The polished result comes considerably faster. The technical approach often ends up in boredom and the half arsed promise to `come back to that piece with fresh ears in a month or so. ` Something that rarely happens....


From Albert Justice
Posted on January 18, 2007 at 2:22 AM
Thanks Buri--I play a lot of music too--my evenings routinely go into 5 hours. I'll answer back in the post.
From Albert Justice
Posted on January 18, 2007 at 2:22 AM
Thanks Buri--I play a lot of music too--my evenings routinely go into 5 hours. I'll answer back in the post.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on January 18, 2007 at 3:33 AM
Greetings,
no wonder you are seeing double?!
Cheers,
Buri
From Terez Mertes
Posted on January 19, 2007 at 1:04 AM
Buri - wow, that hit the spot for me - thanks. Beautifully put. And thank you for giving me a new long-term goal, as well:

>getting up in front of people and moving them to tears or at least to sling their underpants at you.

Woo hoo - I can just see it now! : )

From Yixi Zhang
Posted on January 21, 2007 at 4:43 PM
Buri,

I'm one of those people play edutes exclusively these days (as a matter of priority when time limit is an issue), but your warning is very timely.

"Very often the goal itself can be the means!!!" How interesting! Can you elabrate on this please?

Yixi

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