Effective Violin Practice
How to practice the violin effectively? I have been playing for about 6 years, and I sense that my practice procedure is unproductive:run through scales, study and pieces. Done. I would like to know what are some ways other violinists practice. Whether it's their daily routine or just a single tip, please tell me! I believe the method used to practice is as important as the amount of time spent, and I would like to use that time with most effectiveness.
Thanks in advance.
Have a specific goal for everything you do, preferably written down in a practice journal.
Have you asked your teacher if you have one? Know what you're aiming for. Isolate difficult passages and work on them slowly.
Keep a practice journal.
Why are you doing scales? When you can answer that question you'll have a better idea how to practice them. If your answer is "just for intonation" then you're missing the point. A good scale book like the one by Simon Fischer can explain to you all the benefits of scale practice and how to go about it. Flesch gives you the "what" but not the "why" or the "how".
I think you have to mentally imagine the desired sound that you are going after, and reverse engineer it. In conjunction of having a plan/goal, then you'll know exactly what and how to practice.
My practice routine has changed quite a bit in the last year and half. When I first came back to the violin, I spent half of my time practicing scales and etudes, a habit drilled in me by an old school childhood teacher. Now my scales and etudes are repertorie driven, which means the scales I am working on are in the same key as the rep I am learning and I focus on octaves/thirds/...and various bow strokes as needed.
Up until recently my practice material has dictated areas to work on.I learned other instruments playing scales and I know all of my scales and intervals from a theory perspective, so I didn't begin on violin playing scales for hours and hours. I wanted learning the instrument to be enjoyable and playing scales for two hours didn't figure into that.
Apart from the organizing part -- which is excellently treated in Y Cheng's link -- self-analysis is important in order to know what you should actually be aiming for. Here I find a concept from the chess-world quite useful called 'Makogonov's rule' (after Vladimir Makogonov, a chess coach in the former Soviet Union). In chess-terms it reads something like this: 'In absence of any immediate tactical threats look at the board and ask yourself: Which is my worst-placed piece? Then try to find a way to improve its position'. In that way you will always come up with a move that is at least useful, if not the best. In violin terms you can apply this rule to different areas. You can e.g., ask yourself. Which of the first five positions am I the least comfortable in? Which basic bowing technique needs the most improvement? Which kind of vibrato could really be better? Which intervals are the most out of tune? Which bars in my concerto always go wrong? Then look for exercises that target these weaknesses.
Also consider searching the site for threads on practice strategies, as they're plentiful.
If you've had a teacher for 6 years and they haven't given you a very deliberate system for practicing scales, then look for a teacher that can.
It's nice to see how others approach their practice.
Totally depends on where you're at, skill-wise (what level of repertoire, what scale method - if any - what etudes?), in addition to how much you practice in total each day. Let me know those things and I can give you a more specific idea.
the most important is to think, to listen to yourself, be critical, and think about what needs to improve and think how to achieve that by specific practice.
I second the idea of a practice journal and writing down goals as well as progress made (not repertoire, but aspects of your playing....like I worked on greater dynamic contrasts, or I made my shifts smoother, or I worked on better legato). Be results driven, not time driven. A good rule is always to wait one second before trying something again - allow the brain to process and decide what to change. Repeat only after things are fixed, not as a way of "getting it". Approach your difficult spots in new ways all the time - if the old way worked, the problem would already be solved. Record yourself every time your practice (one day scales, one day something else etc). Recommended practice books: The art of practicing (Gerle), the Art of Bowing Practice (Gerle), the Musicians' Way (Klickstein), any Simon Fischer book. I've started a "practice channel" if you want to check it out, there might be some new ideas:
Efficient practicing is probably the most important thing you can do for your violinplaying.
What do you mean by run through? Are you playing through mistakes and not stopping to correct issues?
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