These are the notes I distilled from the Solo Strings Symposium I attended in Miami a few years back. I hope you find these rules of thumb helpful!
a) Practice with a purpose.
The big thing here is practicing mindfully. Step into the practice room knowing what you want to improve. Once you’ve identified your goals, it becomes so much easier to reach them.
b) Change the way you think.
Simply sloughing through your etudes and pieces will not improve much if you remain on autopilot. Switch things up so that you will engage in more conscious practice.
c) Don’t get distracted: set time frames and set designated breaks.
If you know that you have a certain time for practicing and for break, you won’t be tempted to check your phone as much. Also, breaks help you to refocus and become more productive in the long run.
d) Don’t relax just because you think you have time- if you treat yourself professionally you will play professionally.
What are you waiting for? The time to improve is now. Don’t wait until the week before a big recital or examination before you begin putting in the hours. It’s better to get nervous too early than too late.
e) Poor practice only makes you better at playing poorly.
This is pretty logical. According to Aristotle, excellence is a habit because you are what you repeatedly do.
f) Think about how you can make your playing “best”, not “better”.
Set your goals high so that you are motivated to reach your full potential!
g) Go out there and rip up those sections- playing it through won’t do the trick!
Yes, you do need to get into the nitty-gritty and plunge into the difficult parts. Identify them, isolate them, and practice them.
And here is the full list:
Hope you enjoyed this post! What are your guidelines in the practice room?
First published on my music homepage.