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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: How long was your longest practicing streak?

October 4, 2013 at 6:32 PM

How long was your longest practicing streak?

In other words, what is the longest number of days that you practiced EVERY day?

It may seem unnecessary, this idea of practicing every single day. Surely you can get as much done if you practice five days week, or if you miss only the occasional day, here or there. But practicing every day, without missing any, is a virtuous cycle. The longer the "practice streak" goes, the less the practicer wishes to break it! And of course, the improvement in playing will be more foundational than the occasional "cram session" kind of practicing.

Practice record

Something that can be helpful is to try doing a 100-day challenge. Can you practice every day, for 100 days? You have to start over again with "1" if you miss a day. This is certainly possible, in fact, I've had a few students go for more than a year without missing a day. At a Suzuki institute I attended, I met a teenager who'd gone for many, many years without missing a day and was still at it!

What is your longest practice streak? And when would you like to begin your 100-day challenge? How about today!

From Trevor Jennings
Posted on October 4, 2013 at 10:43 PM
3 or 4 days, perhaps? But then it depends how one defines "practice". In fact I play the violin every day, except when away on holiday, but not all that playing is necessarily "practice" in the strict sense.

In orchestral rehearsals, which occupy me for 8-9 hours a week, there are occasions when I pay special attention to some aspect of technique while I'm playing; so is that classed as practice? And what about my fortnightly lessons?

Under these circumstances I don't think I can fairly vote.
From Mark Roberts
Posted on October 5, 2013 at 12:41 AM
practising the violin every day is easy, try doing science everyday that's difficult.
From marjory lange
Posted on October 5, 2013 at 3:17 AM
I haven't counted in decades!

a 100-day challenge sounds cool. I'll start 21 Oct. when I return from a business trip (no way to practice in that venue, not even w/ practice mute). I'm curious to see if I can do it...

From Brian Kelly
Posted on October 5, 2013 at 3:24 AM
I have got in the habit of practising for an hour per day. It is a daily ritual like shaving ! I feel that the day has been wasted or is incomplete unless I do some violin practise. I am off to Shanghai next week and the violin (plus mute) will be going with me again.
From Trevor Jennings
Posted on October 5, 2013 at 11:41 AM
Had another think about "practice", coming to the conclusion that my playing always involves assessing and monitoring what I'm doing, and if something's not right then it gets corrected at the time or flagged for attention later, implying there is a pervasive element of "practice" in my playing - with the possible exception of performances (but even that's doubtful).

I've therefore cast my vote - for 6 months, which takes care of any holiday absence from the violin.

From Mendy Smith
Posted on October 5, 2013 at 2:09 PM
About a year... When I travel up to Interlochen, I don't practice on my travel days, but that is about it. Only very very recently did I take a week off from practice while I was figuring out what was going on with my finger.
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on October 5, 2013 at 2:12 PM
I did it for about 6 months once, while living in Germany. At the time I was quite "into" violin, had a great teacher, but most importantly, didn't have that much else to do. I was in a foreign country with limited language skills, and was taking a year off between high school and college.

I have mixed feelings about that time overall. There was a sense in which I was using violin practice as a retreat from the hard work of trying to socialize in a foreign land and language. There was a sense in which I was using it as an escape to mask loneliness.

It also fed my perfectionist streak, one that I don't often give rein to, but when I do, the results are usually not good for me psychologically.

In the many years since, I have never been able to make practicing every day work again, and have stopped trying. My attempts have generally resulted in feelings of guilt and overwhelm and wanting to quit playing altogether.

Having given up on that goal of practicing every day made it possible for me to play at all.

From Yixi Zhang
Posted on October 5, 2013 at 6:26 PM
I did daily practice for a few years during my early teenage period. I did it because it was more rewarding than anything else there was for me to do at the most politically termoil time in mordern Chinese history.

Looking back, practicing time was meditation and praying time for me s well as time to express and play safely and freely when other forms of expression would be either forbidden or dangerous.

Now I have to make sure that I listen to my body carefully or I could easily injure myself if I strictly stick to the routine of practicing everyday. Practice is more like a workout than brushing teeth now since having experienced some injury from repetitive overuse certain part of my body.

From elise stanley
Posted on October 6, 2013 at 2:32 PM
Mark wrote: "practising the violin every day is easy, try doing science everyday that's difficult."

I do both every day! :)

I think the question would be better phrased as 'play' rather than practise since those on here who are professionals may not feel like practise on a day with 8 hours of playing!

But as a humble amateur I not only practise every day - and have done so for not one but now many years - but I also keep a minute-by-minute (as far as possible) log of playing and practise. This works for me both as an inspiration and its own reward - and also means that I can check on whether I am meeting personal goals (e.g. actually playing scales). Interestingly, not one of my teachers has expressed any interest in this log - although they do appreciate the outcome.

From Mary Carlson
Posted on October 10, 2013 at 12:37 PM
I have trophies for my students for "days in a row" of practice. It really works and there is no competition for that. It is about how you practice and not how good you are.
When I was at Indiana University I never missed a day of practice...even on my birthday or Christmas. I may have been a little ocd, but I am glad I was dedicated.

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