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Anne Akiko Meyers

Practice Schmactice

April 26, 2012 at 2:11 PM

I have practiced practically everyday of my life since I was 4 years old. There is good practice-where I manage what I have to do and efficiently do it (in 45 min.-1.5 hrs.) and bad practice-where I would count the endless hours (3-5 hrs. growing up) and actually move the handles of the clock to show my mom, look! Amazing! Wow, look at the time! I am done! Since I had my second daughter, I was thinking about practicing and how I think of it everyday. No matter where I am in the world, or what I am doing in the day, there’s always a moment when I think, ‘I’ve got to practice’ or ‘When the hell will I get to practice’ or scarily remember some part of the previous night’s nightmare of having to go on stage without any rehearsal or warm-up and perform the last movement of the Sibelius Concerto.

Have I gotten worse as I’ve gotten older? How do I remember so much when practicing so little? Will I ever feel ‘practiced’ enough? Towards the end of the last pregnancy or dog days of pregnancy, I had zero energy to practice and would hit my belly with every bow stroke. I missed feeling like I was in shape and ready to play a 2 hour recital yet I also really needed a break. It’s amazing how refreshed one can feel when taking a break from it-one week is good, 2 weeks away I become lethargic. Any longer, and I can’t remember how string crossings work…..

Every time I pick up the bow, I feel a little different, a little older and maybe just a little wiser. It’s my soul connector in a way. It gives me time to reflect and throw myself into a challenge I have to figure out immediately. Putting so many pieces together like an endless puzzle or a super gnarly police investigation.

Egad… OK… it’s time to go practice!

The author was about 5 or 6 years old when this picture was taken.

To hear the results of all that practice, listen to Anne Akiko Meyers' latest CD, Air - The Bach Album.

From Terez Mertes
Posted on April 26, 2012 at 4:57 PM
Loved reading this, and the photo is precious beyond words. : ) Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts/experiences with the community!
From Gene Huang
Posted on April 26, 2012 at 5:44 PM
I can relate to lying to my mom or dad about how long I had practiced when I was a kid. Funny that nowadays I can't find enough time in a day to practice... Thanks for being an inspiration to me, Anne!
From Tom Holzman
Posted on April 26, 2012 at 7:11 PM
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. It is a great blessing to us amateurs that busy pros like yourself are willing to take the time to let us know about your issues and give us your insights.

I once had a teacher who was a first violin in the Boston Symphony. He told my mother that he knew from about age 3 that he was destined to become a professional violinist, but he always hated to practice.

From Laurie Niles
Posted on April 26, 2012 at 9:07 PM
Seems like most people dislike practicing, or at least the time it takes to do it. l love those pigtails and the ribbons, Anne!

From Christian Vachon
Posted on April 27, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Ms. Akiko Myers - it's wonderful of you to take time and write something on this site!

Cheers and all the best!


From Paul Deck
Posted on April 29, 2012 at 4:22 AM
I like the bow that's got so many yellow tapes on it that it looks like a coral snake. And the typical kid's violin setup with the random assortment of fine tuners. Just goes to show you can have a setup like that with a rental violin and tapes on your bow and end up fabulous.
From David Wilson
Posted on April 30, 2012 at 9:57 PM
To me, practicing violin has become an important morning (and usually early evening) ritual. I relish the challenges and the tactile "reality" of the violin. It is my escape from the more mundane of life's activities. Although I will never reach the technical skills of a renown concert soloist, I consider myself privileged to be able to make music on this instrument. Thank you for your compelling article.

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