We’ve all been there, lots of rehearsals, performances, and not enough time to practice. With our musical lives busier than ever, I’d like to share with you some tips to help you get more out of your practice.
Oftentimes our struggles happen before we enter the practice room. So, my first tip for violinists who want to get more out of their practice is to set a schedule.
Sounds easy, right? Not exactly..
Like I mentioned before, every full-time musician has a busy schedule and sometimes we have weird gaps throughout the day where we can physically be around our instrument. Setting a schedule around your busy life will help you control the controllables in your practice regimen. All it takes is to set aside a time to write your schedule down at the beginning of each week, or whenever you have a free day to plan things out. Do the best you can, things can pop up and throw you off track. But in the end, you are in control.
My next piece of advice is to reduce the amount of friction there is between you and your instrument.
What do I mean by this?
Take a moment to picture your last practice session. How long did it take for you to get to the practice room, put your violin case down, go to the bathroom, wash your hands, take your violin out, put your shoulder rest on, rosin your bow, get your music out, put the music on the stand, tune your violin and THEN start to play? This takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes of your practice and it takes away from your previous playing time.
So the next time you finish your practice session, do as much as you can to reduce the amount of friction between you and your instrument. If you do your practice at home, this could mean buying an instrument stand so that you don’t have to put it back in your case every time you’re finished. Here is an affordable instrument stand I recommend. (Insert link)
Another thing to think about is preparing your next practice session after finishing your current one. This could mean rosining your bow after the session so that you can just take out your bow and play. For violinists who don’t use a shoulder rest and have a sponge instead, keep it on the violin so that you don’t have to put it on and off (this is if your violin can fit in the case with he shoulder rest on). You can, perhaps, wipe off all the rosin from your fingerboard and bow so that you can open your violin case next time with a clean violin, ready to go.
Once you’ve established your schedule with the amount of hours you wish to practice, and reduce the amount of friction between you and your instrument, take a moment to write down some deadlines.
In my own experience, a scheduled practice for an audition, recital, or performance deadline helped me stay on course. It helps me stay motivated for when I need to get specific practice done.
You can also switch the word deadlines with ‘goals’ if you want.
Lastly, whether you have a tablet or you have sheet music like me (I know, I’m still a little old-school) organize your music so that it’s easily accessible in a folder in your files app, or in the case of paper sheet music, you can put everything in order