What is your favorite practice tool?
This is a question that Dr. Renée-Paule Gauthier asked, when interviewing me on her Mind Over Finger podcast that came out on Friday. Great question!
I did not hesitate: for me, it's the metronome. I actually have three of them: one big wooden mechanical Wittner, a Seiko quartz metronome and a very light little Dr. Beat. (I don't have a cool penguin metronome, as in the picture, but wouldn't that be cool?) I find that if I can get something organized with a metronome, at a do-able speed, then I'm set to either speed it up or to play it with a less strict pulse.
But there are so many tools that can aid with practice: a mirror, practice journal, tuner, various apps, accompaniment tracks, etc. I'm wondering how everyone else would answer this question, and it got me thinking about the many tools that exist.
For example, a practice journal can be very helpful, and there are journals that provide more than blank pages. V.com member Susanna Klein offers a Practizma Practice Journal designed to guide the player through 16 weeks of practice by setting goals, reflecting on accomplishments and tracking progress.
As a teacher of young children, I know repetitions become more of a fun game if a counting device is involved - such as a mini-abacus or another kind of bead counter. I use dominoes for my students and let them knock them down once they reach the number of repetitions they need to do!
A recording device also can help, whether it's video or audio. Recording your own practicing allows you to analyze your playing in a more objective way than you can do in the moment.
What is your favorite practice tool, and why? Please choose the answer that comes closest for you, and then tell us all about it in the comments.
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