Project Management and Practice

May 29, 2023, 12:26 PM · Hello! I am new here. I started playing around 2.5 years ago. My story is somewhat unique- and I wanted to share a little and to see if project management interests anyone as a topic.

My main career and background is Project Management. I have run millions of dollars in projects so far in my life, and I have helped companies build products and services that quadruple the investment they put into the project itself. Overall, I have 14 years of project management experience.

2.5 years ago I wanted to start playing the violin so I picked up an instrument and started learning. Today, I am in Suzuki Book 4, can play in 2nd and 3rd positions, have a pretty tone and right hand technique, and ultimately, I am very happy with the progress.

What was interesting about my start here was that I applied my project management experience to facilitating my learning journey. Running projects is all about standardized processes, documentation and timelines so that you can have good lessons learned and retrospective after the project is done. I took that experience and I built a practice framework around that type of documentation processing.

Doing it this way helped organize and streamline my approach. It also built a solid foundation for me to keep progressing as an adult - even though I had very limited time.

As things went on, I got this want to write a book about it, so I did. I finished it around the end of 2022 - it's called Project Manage Your Practice. People don't often realize that organizational methods and best practices have been built by groupings of people - for instance Project Management Institute- and the best practices contained in those methodology really produce results. I mean, the knowledge in PMI was built over hundreds of years - so it is tried and tested stuff.

In any case, I was curious if anyone wanted to discuss this topic. If you are interested in the book, I can send it to you as well. Hope all is well and

Replies (17)

May 29, 2023, 12:40 PM · There is no doubt that being organized and actually spending practice time on practicing helps. Maybe your extended knowledge in process management is helping, who knows?

I notice you did not plug your book for more than its biographical value -- kudos to you for that. (Shameless advertising is not really tolerated in this forum.) However, now that the genie is out of the bottle, maybe you can tell us where we CAN find it -- I tried Amazon and failed.

There are other products out there for helping to organize one's practice if that's all one wants to do, such as Practizma, created by Susanna Klein.

Finally you don't say whether you have a teacher or not, which is important because I think most folks would want to know what your teacher thinks of your project-management approach.

May 29, 2023, 1:31 PM · Is this a method for self-learning or for organizing your practice sessions?
May 29, 2023, 2:36 PM · @Paul

Good points there - I didn't think much of it when posting as my main goal was to create discussion around the topic as opposed to advertising anything. I would send anyone the book here for free if you want it. - the link is here: Project Manage Your Practice

I did not have a teacher for my first 2 years and 2 months. I got a teacher in January of 2023 - so 3 months so far. When I started with her, she asked me about my experience so I sent her 15 videos of documented practice, my 2023 project charter detailing the goals and objectives for the year, and my last 2 retrospectives which are 1-2 pages of reflection based on the specific goals and objectives from the project charter. She told me I was the most organized student she has ever had in 20 years and wanted to keep doing the same process.

The great part about it is the constant feedback loop since I have videos consistently, and written practice logs, she provided feedback through out the week as opposed to just at the lesson, so we can adapt and focus on better things during the lesson itself. Also, since I record stuff, if the recording of something comes out amazing, and I fumble at the lesson on it, she still knows that those items we worked on were accomplished - and that what happens at the lesson is not 100% what happens during practice. Really good stuff.

I looked at other options out there - and they lacked some process methodology that made the methods feel more like they were focused on the physical act of practicing as opposed to what creates committed progress. Emotional intelligence is the biggest thing someone can build up on to improve - that is also one of the largest concepts in my book. How do you communicate with yourself and others (especially if you have a teacher) effectively so that you can take in feedback, adapt, and produce a result.

Problem solving, critical thinking, adaptability and openness to feedback tend to be barriers to individuals progressing. And they are key elements to running success projects with 10, 15, 20 people on a team and you have to keep everyone motives to get the work completed.

So even though I have read other's books on it, I haven't seen something actually delve into how to handle personality types - your own personality, how it impacts your practice needs and wants, how understanding your personality allows you yo communicate better with a teacher, and how to utilize those strengths in your personality to problem solve, plan, execute and make progress.


It definitely might be worth a read if you are aiming to get more analytical. I think the best parts is the retrospectives that I have written over 2.5 years. It's basically around 80 pages of every point, problem, aha moment, and impediment I have had - discussed and broken down so I could understand it detailed enough. I love going back through those and seeing where I once was and where I am now.


It was built to enhance your self- taught capability, but it also goes into a lot of emotional intelligence which gives people an understanding of how to communicate with different personality types. My teacher isn't exactly that organized, but her experience is phenomenal and she has great energy about the violin. My organization really compliments her knowledge, and it helps us both. The understanding that comes from good communication helps you self-teach while also builds your relationships with teachers and others around you.

May 31, 2023, 10:37 PM · Well, I guess I'll take you up on your generous offer. If you can send me email (pdeck at then we can get the ball rolling (as I do not have any contact info for you).
June 1, 2023, 11:15 AM · Highly interesting!
Just one little thing: the little girl on the screen has violin & bow holds which will give much better results for longer than those of the child you are helping.
June 1, 2023, 10:11 PM · @Paul - I sent you the book. Check your email :)

@Adrian - I agree! It is a fascinating subject. I am consulting with a company now that is trying to build better process improvement, sustainable discipline, and gaining better communication. It is always interesting to see how people engage and learn.

Note: my picture is of me and my daughter. She is 2 and a half in that picture, and she was imitating the TV. She used to use her drum stick and random toys as violins, so I got her a real one! She had a lot of fun with it. She is 4 almost 5 now, and she plays in rhythms now.

Edited: June 2, 2023, 3:50 PM · Hey Fred,

I'm fairly interested in the book too.

I've worked in quite some projects that match exactly like what you described, "Problem solving, critical thinking, adaptability and openness to feedback tend to be barriers to individuals progressing. And they are key elements to running success projects with 10, 15, 20 people on a team and you have to keep everyone motives to get the work completed."

I can totally related how important it is to get organized, standardize and streamline processes, and how critical it is to get the people/organization side nicely taken care of.

For me, a beginner violin learner, playing violin is like a total pure joy or even medication moments to me. However, I never really thought about any connection between violin and project management. Your post is really a nice one stating the connections. I'd be really interested in purchasing a digital copy of it so that I can read it in my e-ink reading device. Would you by chance has a link for how to purchase the digital version of book? I think it totally make sense to pay for something that one has paid lots of effort for, and something falling into the overlapping of my two attention areas, music and management. :-)

June 2, 2023, 5:55 PM · @jeff xu

Hello! Really awesome to hear about your experience on the work side with project management. I definitely carry those types of skills into almost my everyday life - and it is very helpful!

Here is the book - it is for Kindle and physical copy here:

Look forward to hearing from you and what you thought of it!

Edited: June 3, 2023, 7:58 PM · Your link failed, but I managed to find your book on Amazon by searching your name. I bought the Kindle version, it was a few dollars. Unfortunately my version of the Kindle app on my PC said it needed to be updated before your book could be viewed, and when I tried to do that, it failed to install. I can read the book in the Kindle Cloud Reader, but I'm more likely to read something that's actually a book, like, made of paper and all. The paperback is $36 -- not super expensive as such things go, we'll see.

Oh well ... we don't live in a perfect world.

June 5, 2023, 5:50 PM · @Paul

Oh! I sent you another email. You just need to login first then you will be able to click the link and access it :) give it a shot!

June 6, 2023, 3:04 PM · That link worked well Fred. Traveling now but looking forward to seeing your ideas leap from the printed page
June 7, 2023, 5:07 AM · Fred,

Interesting how we late starters use our professional career experience as a lens through which we see the world. My field was Supply Chain Management and, like you, I see the world through that lens. While not 100% compatible, the lessons learned do share a lot of accumulated wisdom.

I started violin in my late 20's just because I wanted to play the violin in my church. My skills have developed way beyond that goal. Now in my mid 70's and retired from SCM I enjoy teaching the violin to others most of whom do not have the resources to pay the going rate for professional instruction. I build the solid foundation of the bio-mechanics of violin playing with and understanding of music theory.

FWIW: I downloaded your book to my kindle.

June 7, 2023, 9:13 AM · It's a real bargain on Kindle. I could not resist!
June 7, 2023, 5:28 PM · @Paul - great to hear! Happy traveling!

@George - supply chain management is a really awesome field. Lean sigma is one of those concepts I stick to in my company as well - process improvement for operational work flows and using kaizens to dig into inefficiencies. Really cool background you have there. I could definitely see how that would help you along your violin journey!

@Andrew - that is appreciated! Let me know what you think about it. I would love to hear the feedback :)

June 10, 2023, 10:29 PM · I've purchased the kindle version. Its price is simply a steal. Thanks Fred for sharing it!
June 11, 2023, 10:15 AM · I always keep a few kaizens in my violin case.
June 12, 2023, 3:03 PM · @Jeff - much appreciated Jeff! Hope you enjoy it :)

@Paul - like written on paper!? :)

If you are interested in some fun reading on the topic, I wrote a little about the Project Management Body of Knowledge - a book by the Project Management Institute, and how it correlates to organized practice habits:

I also wrote about documenting a practice log and how to build a retrospective here:

I am curious - how does everyone else document their practice and how do you build a focus practice scenario?

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