Wednesday, February 26, 2014
The Makings of a Great Student, Part 1
A violin professor was somewhat surprised to learn of the success of two of his students whose playing had been less than stellar all during their time in school. What accounted for their turn around?
He learned that two key components to their improvement was their consistent use of the metronome and the recording of their practice sessions on a daily basis. Rather than wait until the music was totally prepared, they listened to their practice room labors every day and made a habit of turning on the metronome!
Significant progress need not take four years or longer. Diligent attention to rhythm and listening will drastically improve performance in just a short time! Really, how much talent is needed to dust off the metronome and click on the recording device?
Sunday, February 09, 2014
Glory and Grit
A few thoughts on rethinking the practice session in order to make it a pathway to glory:
- Don't jump into the trenches without a plan. Organized digging only! No wild flailing permitted.
- Don't practice like a student.
- Pretend someone important is listening.
- Don't waste your notes. You have precious few.
- Dig slowly and carefully on the hard stuff.
- Set time limits. Don't dig for hours on end, lest you exhaust brains and chops and get yourself nowhere.
- Record your sessions. See if there's madness to your method.
- Consider your practice sessions as snippets of quality playing rather than large chunks of rubble.
- Avoid making brainless mistakes. Try to make the trenches your error-free zone.
- Practice musical risk-taking. Don't just play it safe.
- The more agony in the trenches, the more ecstasy on the stage! Sweat the practice, not the performance.
- Practice enjoying the frustrations of your grit and grunt work. Don't avoid your weaknesses. Let difficulties improve you, and the glory will take care of itself.
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