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Mendy Smith

A Well Tempered Practice Diet - The Plan

February 17, 2011 at 2:57 AM

After warming up, I normally start working through the stack of music on my stand.  Generally, the amount of focus each piece gets is based on how 'exposed' I will likely be performing it.  Upcoming solo performance pieces get first priority, followed by upcoming chamber music pieces for performance, then what is being worked on during lessons, and finally orchestral pieces.  What is often lacking is a specific plan for addressing the technical and stylistic demands of what I'm practicing.

Though I'm a violist who occasionally plays 2nd fiddle, I've been looking at the Sevcik study for the Wieniawski Scherzo-Tarantelle that I recently won from a contest on this site and am formulating ways to apply the practice techniques from the study to my own viola practice.  I had been toying with the idea lately of taking various bits and pieces of viola repertoire and creating a personalized etude book that incorporates the pieces that I play.  With the Wieniawski/Sevcik in hand, I'm learning how to break down a piece to its component parts and add variations to address a particular technique or style. 

I'm finding that it is actually fun and productive to sit down at the table with a piece of sheet music, score, notes jotted down during/after lessons, and method/etude books to formulate a practice plan on my own.  In this manner, I own the plan and its outcome.  My teacher is there to help me refine my plan and give objective input on how well it is working.


From Drew Lecher
Posted on February 17, 2011 at 7:58 PM

 Yes! Incorporate the technique into the repertoire and the repertoire into the technique with a thousand twists and turns making it endlessly fascinating, fun and challenging to develop—both ourselves and the music:-)

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