Practice Routines

November 20, 2007 at 12:21 AM · I'm curious about what everyone's violin practice routines are like. How long do you practice each day? What exactly do you practice? Pieces, scales, studies,...What's your routine? Please share.

Replies (24)

November 20, 2007 at 12:45 AM · <-- violin n00by adult

I practice six days a week (I skip Fridays.)

Work days I practice 1-2 hours, weekends I practice 2-3 hours.

Type practice #1:

15-20 minsScales (warm-up.)

15-20 mins Older pieces. (1 hour weekends)

20+ mins Newest piece. Practice non-stop, even if I have errors, I'm not allowed to stop. (1 hour weekends)

(If I have extra time it goes to blind sight reading.)

Type practice #2:

15-20 mins Scales (warm-up.)

15-20 mins Blind sight reading (one hour weekends)

20+ mins Newest piece. Practice measure by measure, very slowly. Working on memorizing, intonation, etc. (1.5-2 hours weekends)

I really can't focus on technique because I don't have any =(

November 20, 2007 at 01:28 AM · Greetings,

I practice three hours a day whatever. But the routine vairous according to what I nee din the moment.

However there are constants such a sbowing and left hand exericses (including vibrato), scales and Paginini.etc. It is mor ea question of juggling around materials.

I also set aside one period a weke to play thorugh repertoire which is done in cyclicla fashion. There is nothing worse than letitng old repertoire go out of control after all the work one has done.

I aslo start with a litlte music these days rather technique. I find this important because if my emotional side is not active tehcnicla work is less efficient, in my opinion.

Orhcstral and chambe rparts take up a lot of time.



November 20, 2007 at 02:33 AM · I get in 3-4 hours a day, and more on a free day. Sometimes I take a day off. I include:

-Warm up, usually Sevcik bow exercises.

-Scales, Flesch, but with Galamian rhythms/bowings.

-Technical stuff, Sometimes Dounis, Schradieck, etc.

-Etudes, various, but always a Kreutzer!

-Solo Bach


-Main piece

-Sight reading

-Repertoire Review

I listen to various CDs every day, but not necessarily the piece I am working on. I have been taking advantage of my Naxos subscription and listening to music I don't know. Great fun! Also, I like to "read" my piece away from the violin. I just sit down and read the music and hear it in my head.

November 20, 2007 at 11:41 AM · I am not a violinist by profession but an ardent hobbyist and occasional performer. I used to practice daily before my son was born, now I simply practice as often and as long as possible -- this can amount to two hours or a mere 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week.

Doing my routines to me is all the more important. I start by doing full strokes and direction changes on open strings;

then I usually do a piece of Schradieck, from very slowly to top-speed;

then comes a scale, one key a week, day 1 the plain scale in flageolet (two octaves), then ordinarily up to four octaves per stroke plus bowings (spiccato, détaché, sautillé, staccato stiff, staccato flying), then rebuilding the scale with vibrato, up to eight notes tied; day two, arpeggios; day three, scale in 1-3, 2-4, 3-5 fashion (my favourite), plus bowings and vibrato; day four, chromatic, plus bowings and vibrato; if there are practice days five and six, thirds and octaves.

All this adds up to 30 to 45 minutes, and afterwards I feel pretty much warmed-up and ready to do more -- at the moment, Locatelli etudes, Bach a-minor sonata, and some light repertoire for performance.



November 20, 2007 at 02:40 PM · about 2-3 hours per day. I try to practice more on weekends. I loosen up with scales and etude until my left arm warms and loosens up (lot of hardware holding my elbow together). Then I'll work on pieces that I'm learning and finish up with pieces I need to polish.

November 20, 2007 at 03:34 PM · I have a daughter who plays violin; each session she does:

1/2 hour right hand: sevcik bowing or dounis

1/2 left hand: sevcik trills, double stops, shifting

10-15 minutes on scales of the flesch book

10-15 minutes on Etudes

20-30 minutes on solo rep

if she has extra time she works on orchestra pieces.

If you feel burned out or need a break, but don't want to skip days of practicing, we found that practicing what you want for how long you want works well. Sometimes mixing it up instead of following the same routine works too. You just need to fine what works best for you and stick with it.

Good luck

November 20, 2007 at 08:32 PM · Never enough :) And now that I am not teaching public school, where I had an instrument in hand no less than several hours a day, I really need to get busy getting the rust off. Making stupid mistakes like out of tune in 1st position, forgot some bits of Suzuki pieces from lack of recent rep, etc., have to THINK when playing wrong clef on right fiddle. I do like to warm up by freely improvising and playing snatches of whatever comes into my head, but nothing too fast or too aggressive for at least 8-10 minutes minimum. Sue

November 21, 2007 at 03:18 AM · My practice routine is close to Peggy's - 1 to 2 hours on work days, and about 5 hours or so on the weekends.

Work days:

Day 1 - orchestra practice

Day 2 - 2 3-octave scales & arpeggios

Private lesson piece (right now that is Bach)

One orchestra or quartet piece

Day 3 - Private lessons

Day 4 - Quartet practice

Day 5 - same as day 2

On weekends:

- 2 3 octave scales and arpeggios

- shifting exercises

- vibrato exercises

- bowing exercises

- Bach cello suite of the month

- Quartet pieces

- orchestra pieces

- "what I want to learn next" run-through

While traveling, I study the sheet music (with the viola in the overhead compartment) on the plane and work through bowings and fingerings. While in transit if there is enough time, I "guitar" play the piece through. At the hotel, I do scales alot. I bring my older, smaller viola with me while traveling. It takes a day or two to get my hand re-formed with the smaller instrument. I also only bring one or two pieces with me, a piece that I'm doing for myself, and one piece from either orchestra or my quartet that needs work.

November 21, 2007 at 04:02 AM · Excellent thread Sean! I'll read it alot over the next week or so.

Daily: (unless I perform, and....then it can be very varied)

1st hour:



etudes in three bow regions, sometimes with reversed bowings.

1st half of 15 elements for 3 minutes each

2nd half of elements

Suzuki material, sight reading

Then I often have a period I call 'Afterburners'

Within this I'm developing things like Albinoni's "Adagio in Gm", Bach Sarabande from "Suite in C Minor". And, this period has been known to go into three hours but normally stays a little over an hour--actually sometimes less if I'm very tired. Also withing my Afterburners session can be just a wide variety of material ranging from Lionel Ritchie and old romantic standards, to recreating Appalachian voice from days of a'capella singing--this is one of my favorite things to explore.

December 27, 2007 at 06:21 PM · Opening riff to "Cliffs of Dover" by Eric Johnson-warmup.

"How High the Moon" melody-until I get sick of it.

Squirrel repellents(e-string)-until they get off the roof-(usually about 60 seconds).

Solo section from "Letters of Marque"by Allan Holdsworth-until bar 48,then it goes back to squirrel repellent(upper register section).

Play along with a Regina Carter CD until I lose it(usually about 30 seconds)then I just improvise over the piano solos-30 min.

Drink beer.

Play whatever is in my head-10 min.

Drink more beer.

By now the squirrels are back,Van Halen riffs on the e-string(this keeps them out of the yard for a day or two)-as needed,60 seconds.

Drink even more beer.

Ask myself why I am playing the violin when I am tripping over the guitar cases all over the house-depends on beer amount.

Listen to Stephane Grappelli CD.

Remember why I play violin.



December 30, 2007 at 03:22 PM · My usual daily routine (for a 4-5 hour session):

Part 1: Left Hand -- this includes shifting, stretching/strengthening/flexibility exercises, Dounis.

Part 2: Scales -- 3 & 4 octave single note scales, 1 string scales & broken chords, and scales in double notes, artificial harmonics.

Part 3: Bow Exercises -- includes various bow exercises of sautille, spicatto, ricochet, arpegiatted ricochet, etc.

Part 4: Etudes -- 2 etudes each from Kreutzer, Dont op35, Fiorillo & Gavinies.

Part 5: Solo Bach -- S&P's fragments of the solo back to practice alot of voicing of the chordal passages.

Part 6: Repertoire -- Concerto, Sonata and Chamber Music.

December 31, 2007 at 08:05 AM · When no-ones’ home I could practise all day, well I did when I was a lot younger and before I injured my self two years ago. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking “I’ve over done it” well you’re probably right, but if I hadn’t rinsed that shammy……..‘sooo many times.’ Anyway, I got this great little book called ‘Practicing the violin mentally-physically’ by Louis Kievman. And I followed the ‘General Rules for Practise’ to the letter. Sevcik and Casorti (Bogentechnik) must be part of every serious violinists practise routine, not forgetting Danlca opus 74.

My etudes included selected numbers from Kayser opus 20, Fiorillo 36 etuden, Kreutzer 42 studies, Rode 24 caprices, Dancla’s 20 brilliant and characteristic etudes, and of cause Mazas opus 36, especially numbers 59,62,66. Apart from my light classical pieces, 16 years ago I began practising Bach: Sonatas and partitas, and the Paganini capricen.

But these days I haven’t got much time for all that because the band repertoire takes priority, jigs and reels are ‘ard ‘ya’ know when ‘ya’ gotta’ to play ‘em up tempo for dem’dancers, it just goes to show that you only need ‘absolute minimal finger pressure’ to play those tunes well, and no finger popping. Funny about that, I embarked on studying classical technique so I would look and sound like I had classical training, HaHa, bluffed all of you. And when some one asks me who my teacher was I’m all most embarrassed to say I taught my self for fear that they might think I’m lying.

But I love to play backing for the songs and the singer says he likes my FAT sound referring to the ‘double stops’ I employ. I love to play scales/modes and their arpeggios in any way I can imagine. Chord changes are also important, such as the 12 bar blues etc, etc, etc, and I love to improvise over those and these progressions: ’Folia’ Im-V, ‘Passamezzo Antico’ Im-bVII-Im-V, where the I and V is fixed and the middle two chords can be substituted, or a Fantasia: a free flight of fancy.

Now why am I writing this when I should be practising?

The heat wave is not a good excuse.

Regards Henry.

December 31, 2007 at 08:46 AM · I can't believe how much everyone here practices.

December 31, 2007 at 09:54 AM · i guess some people strive for greatness and other don't

December 31, 2007 at 05:49 PM · If I am not distracting, what would be the most effective way to practice if you have many items assigned from the lesson? On the list are one etude each from Sevcik, Schradiek, Whistler, Mazas, Kreutzer and a scale. Repertoires include a short slow piece, a movement from Bach S&P, and a concerto, at the moment Medelssohn e minor. A bit divergent to pack in in a 2-3 hour practice. Alternate every other day? Thank you.


January 1, 2008 at 12:13 AM · If you practise what you already know you won't learn anything new. If you practice new things you'll make mistakes and learn them. So practise is pointless. Don't do it!

January 1, 2008 at 12:43 AM · It really depends on whether I have upcoming performances or not...The month before a recital/solo performance, I practice 2-3 hours every day. In general, when all I have to do is play in an orhestra performance, it's more like 1 hour on weekdays and 2 hours on weekends...And when I've no upcoming gigs - like now, yay, vacation! - I don't practice at all ;-)

January 1, 2008 at 08:10 AM · "i guess some people strive for greatness and other don't "

...Some try and fail miserably.

January 1, 2008 at 02:48 AM · You only fail when you stop trying,

( playing = practising )

and that must be really miserable.

January 1, 2008 at 08:16 AM · I usually practice 2-3 hours/day, as directed by my teacher.

I don't really have a rigorous practice schedule like the rest of you... sort of makes me feel bad. Anyways, I try to spend around 2 hours on technique and an hour on my piece (I tend to neglect old repertoire if I begin something new). But, most of the time, I spend my full practice period sawing away at various etudes: shifting, bowing, finger dexterity etc. I guess I don't know when to stop practicing my etudes. Thus, I rarely have time to practice my piece(s)... vicious cycle.

Curious, what does everyone think the better approach to practicing is? Practicing one thing with a huge block of time (aka one etude book for the entire practice period) and then alternating the next day, or short amounts of each book every day? I have had problems with this... I try to practice half my exercises every day, and use more time per practice session to focus on a smaller amount of things. But, this eventually backfires and I trim my practicing down to focusing on "difficult" things and ignoring the "easier" things as I run out of time before my lesson.

January 2, 2008 at 12:15 AM · I practice 5 - 6 days a week, depending on my schedule, and 2 to 3 hours when I can. Typically, I start with 10 minutes on Schradieck to warm up, 20 minutes on scales, 30 minutes in Kreutzer; for the second half I will do 10 minutes on double stops, 20 minutes on shifting, and 30 minutes on repertoire. All times can be halved if I don't have 2 hours to put into it.

January 2, 2008 at 01:59 PM · Bobby, That's what I'd like to know, too. Which is better practice everything everyday not so thorough or one or two things deeper each day? I had hoped our teacher would thin it down. It looks like he's expanding repertoirs instead.


January 2, 2008 at 09:59 PM · I practice 1-3 hrs, depending on my laziness or how much time I have. I'm in high school so the amount of time I have varies, but I usually start off with an hour of technique, with a chromatic excersize on each string, followed by whatever scale I'm working on. I play the scale 3 octaves with five seconds per bow, and stop when I've played it perfectly 3 times, then do the same with 3 notes slurred, 1 second per note. I do that 5 times perfectly, then move on. I then work on either my current orchestra music, older pieces, or unaccompanied Bach. I focus on what my teacher has told me for the week, and do my own work on what I want- sometimes I end up sitting there staring into space. :P

January 5, 2008 at 12:15 AM · I just listened to a podcast of Rachel Barton Pine and she discusses her practice tips in detail. It is podcast #10 and you might find it interesting and entertaining. If you go to the iTunes Store then click on Podcasts and then search for Barton Pine you will find it. She has many others as well and they are very entertaining and informative.

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