Published: Mar 17, 2021 | Category: Practice Tips
Dr. Shinichi Suzuki says, "Practice on the days you eat."
Sure, you can sit down for 30 or 60 minutes and say, "OK, I practiced." But can you tell me what you worked on, how you worked on it, and what was the goal of how you worked on it produced?
Some surefire pointers for an effective and quality practice session involve these five points:
- Take notes during the weekly private lesson (or record it). If there is a specific goal your teacher has set for you for a finger exercise, for example, write that down so you know what and how to practice it. Use a practice chart or a notebook to write in. Be sure to understand the what and how before you leave your lesson (see points 4 & 5 below).
- Listening to your required pieces. This is the music you are working on or will be working on. Please don't wait until you start on the new piece to learn it. Work on it first by listening to it every day.
- Organize your practice time.
- Days. How many days will you commit to practicing your craft? Ideally, it should be 7! But I understand some days are busier than others. So, if it's five days, commit to that.
- Time. My students' goal for optimal success is 4 (for the young beginner) to 10 (for the advanced student) hours a week. You should practice for at least 30-90 minutes daily. Organize your time into chunks. You don't have to do everything in one sitting! Chunks can be spread out during the day like this:
- For the young beginner to Book 1 student: 5 minutes on tone production or a specific technique. Ten minutes on a scale or arpeggio study; 10-15 minutes on the working piece; 5 minutes on music theory or sight-reading. Master one skill, then move on to the next.
- For the more advanced student (as the student progresses, time of practice increases):
- 15-25 minutes on tone, shifting, or technique (like vibrato, string articulations, etc.) exercises. This can include scales and arpeggios as well.
- Ten minutes on an Etude - this focuses on many technique-building skills. My students begin with Wohlfarht Etudes Op. 45 when they graduate from Suzuki Book 1.
- 25 minutes on your piece
- 10 minutes on Sight-reading and music theory assignments
- What. You know what to practice based on what your teacher has given to you during your weekly lessons. The what of your practice involves these five ingredients:e this:
- ?How. Your teacher explains this process during your lessons. For example, practice ten repetitions of Twinkle Var. A keeping your eyes on your bow. Are you opening and closing your arm at the 2-eighth notes? Or, practice shifting from 1st to 3rd position, ensuring that your left hand is relaxed and your thumb is not squeezing the neck.
Sight-Reading / Music Theory
Practicing efficiently makes for an effective and quality time that produces results.
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