Late summer is a great time to consider making some practice goals. While a lot of us were not able to take vacations during this strange pandemic year, a few of us still might have taken a bit of a practice break. (Of course, others used it as a chance to practice more than ever!)
Along these lines, this week the New York Philharmonic announced a Practice 30 Challenge, inviting musicians to get started on August 1 and practice the entire month, every day. Not a bad idea!
One of my students got started on a "practice every day" effort this week, and even just one week was showing major results.
I like to tell people to start with the goal of 21 days, as there is some agreement that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Once you form the practice habit, a few things happen. Practicing becomes a little more rote, because it's a habit. But beyond that, it also becomes a much more attractive proposition, because with all that practicing, you get good at playing. And then playing get fun. And then you want to play more! And then you get even better....It's a virtuous circle.
One of the guests on this upcoming Sunday's episode of Gilharmonic on Violinist.com, our summer show with Gil Shaham, is a five-year-old girl who has practiced 342 days in a row! (Click here to see it!) I'm impressed with her, but I'm extremely impressed with her mother, who definitely played a major role in making that happen!
And practicing and progress are definitely linked; check out this chart that relates practice to progress through the Suzuki books: Practice an hour every day and you'll likely progress through one Suzuki book per year. Two hours - two books per year. Practice 15 minutes a day - in 10 years you'll probably still be stuck in Book 2!
What is your longest practice streak? Was it linked to a goal, such as an audition, performance or the desire to conquer a certain piece of music? Do you have a hard time getting on the practice train? What has helped, when you have hit a practice slump? Please pick the best answer for you, and then tell us any advice, experience or encouragement you would like to share about practice!
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