Teacher practise

July 21, 2021, 4:52 AM · Hi all,
For those of you teachers out there who have performance degrees, and even those who don't honestly, how important is it for yourself to find substantial time to practise most, if not every, day? It kinda bothers me when teachers fill their time up all the time with students leaving no room for private practise. Basically just keeping the technique they have had for God knows how long. I understand that if teaching is your soul source of income, you need as much as possible but theres a way to do that while leaving time to practise. Thoughts?

Replies (19)

July 21, 2021, 5:29 AM · Every teacher I have had also did some sort of performing, be it with a local community orchestra, all the way up to professional. I assume that they must make time to practice if they are in an orchestra often performing reasonably hard repertoire. It would be pretty weird to me if they didn't. Even just scales, etudes, and double stops would make sense for them to practice in my opinion.
July 21, 2021, 5:36 AM · Yes I agree completely
July 21, 2021, 5:44 AM · greetings,
actually, the trick is in the wording. It is not so much‘substantial time to practice’ as a question of doing ‘substantial practice That is practice with clear purpose and laser like focus that does what is needed to be done. The first thinks that disappears is thinking in hours so much which may actually have been a counterproductive luxury when young.
I know how to keep my technique in shape on 40 minutes a day. If that has to be two twenty minutes sessions so be it. Mental practice also plays a much greater role.
I think one of the functions of ever increasing technical expertise and experience is the ability to continually learn to do more in less time.
Edited: July 21, 2021, 2:00 PM · What Buri says (as usual..).

Also, I always had my instrument in my hands during lessons I gave.
Between lessons I would do maintenance of the high positions.

July 21, 2021, 5:57 AM · Buri that is more what I was going for thanks. Apologies for the poor wording
July 21, 2021, 11:07 PM · I have specific time blocked out during my day to practice basics on my primary instruments, to ensure that the essential skills don't deteriorate (or at least stall it somewhat). While it isn't a ton, I commit to doing long tones, basics, and some scales, about 20-30 minutes per instrument. On days that I have the chance to work on repertoire, I'll focus on single passages or a related etude instead of playing through material.
July 24, 2021, 12:47 PM · One good thing about teaching, if you choose to have the instrument in hand and demonstrate, is that you constantly review the fundamentals. For more advanced students, it also forces me to review the pieces they are working on.
July 24, 2021, 2:02 PM · Joel my question is more aimed at teachers who mostly if not solely have beginner students
July 24, 2021, 4:07 PM · Joel does make a good point though, you will have a lot of time with your violin in your hand. Even if it's not part of your practice routine, it does help and is better than if you had a non-musical career.

Just like any career, finding time to practice when you are not working takes planning and discipline. I can't imagine a teacher having so many students there is no time for anything else.

Make sure you also take time to listen to good quality live music to keep your musical standards high. Hearing beginners who can't yet play Twinkle in tune all day long can mess with your mind after a while.

July 24, 2021, 8:47 PM · This is very interesting to me: I have had lessons with four teachers and I don't remember one of them ever having her/his violin their hands. Most of the time the teacher's instrument would not even make it out of its case. If a teacher used an instrument to demonstrate something it would be mine, even early on when it was 3/4 size. The only exception would be duos. I remember playing Bartok with my second teacher and Bach double with the third.

So I am little surprised to read that it seems completely normal for a teacher to have an instrument on the ready (or actually almost in use) during lessons.

July 24, 2021, 9:14 PM · The first teacher I picked myself demonstrated on my own instrument. Everyone else used their own. I use my own for demonstrations when I'm teaching too
July 25, 2021, 8:34 AM · Every teacher is different. As far as I know there's not a universal rule about using your violin or the student's. I just prefer my violin, and students like the sound of it. I just don't like the idea of me snatching their violin out of their hands when I need to demonstrate something. I never thought much about it. They have theirs, I have mine.
Edited: July 25, 2021, 12:33 PM · I used to play piano for a private ballet teacher. She was old and fat, but she was still a good teacher. Same with music - some of them can still teach well even if their performace is rusty.
July 25, 2021, 11:41 AM · Using the student's instrument has certainly one advantage: It preempts the excuse "I can't play sautillé because my bow won't do it".
July 25, 2021, 11:50 AM · continued,- The technical maintenance phase of practicing only takes one hour at the most: warm-ups, exercises, scales and arpeggios, one etude. If you have breaks between students, I usually do, you can practice a little. I also like to do duets with students; Doflein and Bartok, and "twin-fiddling" It helps their rhythm and intonation without tedious fussing, and is more fun than a metronome.
July 25, 2021, 1:25 PM · Very true, Albrecht! And that's when I feel comfortable taking their instrument from them and showing them what it can do, lol!
July 25, 2021, 1:57 PM · My teacher demonstrates when needed. I imagine she might do so more often for younger students, as my understanding is that children benefit a lot from watching and imitating (not that they would have the monopoly). My understanding is that the real debate about a teacher teaching with violin in hand occurs at higher levels and advanced repertoire, where a teacher would not want to feel like they are imposing their personality and playing idiosyncrasies on an advanced student, when focusing on really focusing on interpretation. I think Flesch talks about that.

I would think it somewhat strange for a teacher to otherwise never demonstrate, but I probably just haven't been exposed to that style, and it might not be any less effective. I imagine it's just another tool in the toolbox.

July 25, 2021, 2:09 PM · I find that, as an advanced student myself, teacher demonstrations are more effective for me than they were when I was younger, because by now, I know what I'm watching for and can note subtleties of execution.
Edited: July 25, 2021, 4:16 PM · My current teacher has her viola out of its case and ready to play at each lesson, but doesn't always use it; I think there have been brief demonstrations in a bit more than half of my lessons. I think the demonstrations have more often been about interpretation than technique, though there have been some of both.

(Note: I never had beginner lessons. I hesitate to label my current lessons with a level, because I'm working on advanced repertoire but also filling gaps in my technique at intermediate level.)

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