How do you practice?
Because I forgot. I don't know how it happened, but it did.
This is what I would normally do when I have to practice:
1. Exercises and/or etudes. Sevcik often.
2. Scales in first, third and fifth position. Scales in thirds. Arpeggios.
3. Selected bars from the target piece. Slowly repeating small groups of notes, attempting to improve something I want.
I have to problems: (1) Quite often I find I don't have the time to reach 3., when I do reach 3., I'm somewhat tired my practice becomes mindless repetition. (2) I'm feeling less and less excited of practicing sevick and scales each day, slowly turning them into mindless repetition as well.
I'm not sure what you mean by "what I normally do when I have to practice"? (I don't recall your relationship with your violin - are you an, as Rocky would say, avocational player or vocational player?)
When I am short on time and/or energy (which is almost always, these days), I warm up on technical passages from repertoire that I am trying to reinforce. I normally effectively have a mental priority order of what I want to accomplish in a practice session, and I hit those segments.
Demian, you are not alone with the problem of getting tired or losing concentration before getting to the "good stuff". The solution I often use for this is to "switch it up" day to day. If I have the time and energy, my routine is similar to yours, in that I start with the "Galamian 24 note scale" (Look for the video of Zuckerman giving a viola lesson where he shows this scale), then perhaps some technical exercises/etudes, then onto the literature. I take breaks every 30-45 minutes, unless I only have an hour total, then I might just practice for an hour straight.
Maybe rotate the order.
I suppose each person's practice routine will be unique, and different to the next individual. For me, I practise 2-3 hours a day (violin and viola), I start with scales, for around 20-30 minutes, moving onto set pieces from my teacher for viola, and orchestra pieces for violin. And I always end a practise session with something fun, be it a fiddle tune, a favourite movement from an easier piece or a notebash at something far too difficult, that just gives me a giggle. During a practise session, I also break down anything difficult, play it over slowly to try and get the hang of it.
DH, since you chose to use the surname of a great German author, and one of his most popular books as your first name, I guess you're part of the German speaking world. If so, I'd highly recommend "Einfach üben" from Gerhard Mantel, the now deceased but unforgotten, great and most pronounced German cello paedagoge. It's also available as an ebook edition, but for our non-German-speaking friends here, unfortunately there is no translation available. Especially the idea of "zirkulierende Aufmerksamkeit" (maybe to translate as "circulating attentiveness" or something like that) has made my practice much more effective. And plenty of other ideas, of which you'd say "sure one has to do it that way" - although you never knew... All in all its a wonderful book distilled from many decades of an intense and successful career as a teacher. You'll never get bored or drawn away from your practice anymore, even if you'd spend a whole week on a single phrase...
Vielleicht ist "rotating attention" eine bessere Übersetzung. I like this idea, and there's apparently plenty of research to back it up, that you should work on discrete tasks for short amounts of time and keep changing the tasks rather than always plowing through 20 minutes of scales, 20 minutes of etudes, and 20 minutes of repertoire per hour. Sassmannshaus recommends something like no more than three minutes work per task, IIRC. This is supposed to keep you attentive and focused. It certainly makes my practice more interesting than it used to be.
I created an Access database with tables for Task, Time on Task, Notes, and logging negative self talk and a field for rephrasing said talk. I usually use the first two tables.
Lydia also posted a link about how to structure practice, break it up, mix it up before you get bored. "Iterative" something or other. I swear that needs to be a logged link somewhere on this site.
Being in several orchestras (which I thoroughly enjoy or I wouldn't do it) I put in 8-10 hours of orchestral rehearsal every week. My "practice" routine isn't a "routine" as such but is much more working on technical problems arising out of the orchestral material, equally divided between first and second violins. My experience is that the orchestral repertoire seems to include in one way or another most of the technical problems addressed by etudes, but in a musical context.
"You have to figure out what makes the passage hard, and then think of some kind of little exercise that fixes it. It's a feat of puzzle-solving that makes practicing interesting." This, that Lydia and others said, and then feeling improvement based on this is what keeps me coming back practicing!
David - it was interleaved practice. Noa Kageyama from Bulletproof Musician has written about it.
The best practice routine is one that makes you want to pick up your violin every day.
I am rarely doing all 3 things you mentionned in one day. I would have to practice at least 3hrs, which I rarely can so I pick and choose alternating between days, so I might do 1 and 3 one day, 1 and 2 the other, only 3 etc. depending on what I feel like focusing on.
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.