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Hi Beth, I checked out the "practice sheet for intermediate players". I practice for about and hour and a half mon-fri mornings and whenever I can during the weekends...almost every sunday for at least an hour or longer. How would you break up that time as far as techniques to practice each day....along with repertoire for the music I play on sundays ? Being as how one of my "resolutions" for this year is to improve on my practice skills, it would help to have a program to follow. The sheet you provide will help I'm sure. Thanks you ! :-)
2 Responses
Posted: January 14, 2011
Last Comment: January 14, 2011

Posted: January 14, 2011
Thanks Beth, that's very helpful ! I'm one of those that just likes to get right to the pieces and play them through. It's hard for me to do the "woodshed" stuff, but that's one thing I really need to get better at. I'll have to make a copy of that sheet and start writing on it. BTW....thank you as well for providing the source for the accompaniment music for the Schindler's list piece. I'm looking forward to the tutorial !

Beth Blackerby
Posted: January 14, 2011
Good question. I've never really had a pat formula because my practice needs change week to week. If I have a bunch of new notes to learn, then I only do that. But say, for regular practice, I try (and tell my students to try) to spend at least 10 minutes warming up my ears, which entails slow scale practice with a drone, and 10 minutes of warming up the muscles of both hands. I do lots of pinky taps, left hand stretches (octaves, tenths), right hand finger motion exercises like the cole bow stroke. Once I've warmed up both the brain and muscles, then everything else sounds and feels better. So the "warm up" period lasts from 15 to 20 minutes. Then I go to "tackling the rough spots" part of practice. Whatever is the hardest thing I'm working on, I spend 30 or so minutes working out the bugs. This involves extreme focus, slow practice, and paying attention to as much as I can pay attention to. I usually spend most of my practice time doing this. My students like the fun part of practice: playing through their pieces top to bottom, emoting, basically just playing freely and unselfconsciously. I think this is very important to do to build style, and learn to develop continuity in playing. I don't really do much of that myself, though. I'm a "woodshedder" and have an extremely limited amount of time for practice, so I usually just go about the business of learning all my "notes". If I'm preparing for a performance, however, then I put in more time and practice "performing". That's when I actually imagine myself standing on stage and play with every ounce of expression I can muster. I think many people skip doing that, and wait to reserve the impassioned playing for the "performance".