Posts tagged “practicing”

November 15, 2018

Planning breaths

When learning a new étude or repertoire piece, it’s common to practice at first with focus on the notes, often playing them at a slow tempo and/or divided into chunks. This is a good approach for mastering the needed finger technique, but it may neglect one of the crucial parts of a performance: breathing. In ...

September 5, 2018

Music practice and technical debt

In a perfect world I would always tackle an issue head-on. In reality sometimes a looming performance means plastering over the problem and promising myself I'll fix it later, at a greater price.

March 21, 2018

Grading student practicing

When I was a first-year undergraduate music major and not yet fully convinced of the importance of practicing several hours per day, a nudge/threat scared me into changing my ways. But the sudden "motivation" to apply myself a little better soon started paying off. It's exciting to see my students making that same transition.

January 27, 2018

Prepping the dumb guy

In the practice room, I'm smart, organized, and focused. But sometimes the smart guy from the practice room fails to show up, and instead a much dumber version of me ends up on the stage.

September 19, 2017

Preventing accidents with pencil marks

Why spend practice hours trying to remember a flat here or a trill key there when I can solve the problem permanently and in a matter of seconds with a quick marking? Why risk getting momentarily distracted and missing an entrance when a few judicious cue notes can provide a helpful reminder?

July 12, 2017

Recording your practicing

“Record yourself when you practice” is common advice, and good advice. I frequently recommend it to my students, but few of them do it. I think it can seem overwhelming. Recording seems like a big production: getting the material to performance level, using complicated and expensive equipment, playing beginning to end, doing cruelly thorough analysis ...

June 7, 2017

How are you going to improve this?

Practicing without a plan rarely produces the desired results.

May 19, 2017

Staying motivated for summer practicing

For musicians on an academic schedule, summers are often wide open. This can be a great opportunity to get ahead, or a bottomless pit of procrastination and idleness. Here are some ideas for staying motivated to get some summer practicing done.

September 22, 2016

The best practice routine

Lately I’ve been on a diet that has a weekly “cheat” day. Six days out of the week, my meals are Spartan, but on cheat day I get to eat whatever I want. My guess is that isn’t the ideal way to manage my waistline. I would be better off eating more regimented meals every day. But I ...

February 5, 2016

Practice slump checklist

Sometimes my students complain that they have had bad practicing days or weeks. Here are a few ideas for breaking out of a practicing slump.
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