What is the best shortcut for saving time in the practice room?
Mindless practicing or practicing without a plan will waste your precious time, and worse, cause you to move backward, rather than forward, in your playing.
In order to keep this blog post short, sweet, and to the point (we want to be efficient and get to practicing sooner, right?), let’s talk about the ONE THING that you can do TODAY to fast-track your progress and get you practicing more efficiently.
It’s actually laughably simple...
Are you ready for this?
How many times have I caught myself playing ‘out of habit’, repeating passages without truly listening, or not objectively comparing what’s coming out of my instrument to what I ideally envision.
Once I pause for a moment and turn my ears into satellite-sized ears, only then do I start to detect where things need improvement, what is actually working, what is not working, where it needs cleaning up, where I need to have better intonation, etc.
I like to work within what I call a Detective, Scientist, Athlete (DSA) Framework in my practicing.
In this short 1-minute #violynntip video, Luke, a talented young violinist who brought Paganini Caprice No. 5 to his lesson, and I discuss what it means to practice like a Detective, Scientist, and Athlete.
Listening more carefully is part and parcel of being a great DETECTIVE in the practice room, that is, attaching proverbial magnifying glasses to our ears.
Remember: as a Detective, you are sensitive, observant, and artful, listening with:
Here's how you can assume the role of the detective and truly listen - with curious and open ears to your own playing:
Clear your mind before your practice and gently remove mental clutter. (I do a one-minute meditation to help facilitate this.)
Practice as if you had a teacher in the room listening to you.
Practice as if you were live-streaming your practice session online. (I actually have students who do this in our private group!)
Practice with a video or audio recording device running.
I bet if you pause to do more attentive listening like this throughout your practice session, you will gain faster practice ground.
Yes, it requires more concentration and energy... but it will help you get better results.
When you have done the work of truly listening to your own practice, you effectively become your own best coach in the practice room.
I personally love to coach my students in this way, as they develop better listening skills, better independence, and more importantly, learn how to be their own coach and teacher.
With that said, even when you are playing the best Detective in the practice room, there may be times when you feel lost, stuck, or unsure of what your next step needs to be.
This is when a teacher or coach can step in to help you, by zeroing in on your areas of concern, the specific places that have become your personal “blind spots”or road blocks.
To get a head start on practicing more efficiently, feel free to download my How To Practice Like a Ninja Quick Start Guide here. In it, I outline a few more strategies that help you gain a more efficient mindset for your practice session.
I also teach an entire class dedicated to learning and implementing Practice Strategies designed to both correct common practice mistakes as well as help you create more effective practice habits.
P.S. Join my free workshop: The 3 Surprising Secrets That Help Violinists Ace Auditions, Supercharge Their Practice, And Unlock Effortless Technique, if you'd like to know about the top 5 practice mistakes violinists make that could be hurting your progress.
Let me know how your practice goes and if these tips are helpful by sharing this post and leaving a comment on Facebook or Instagram!
If you'd like to know how to work privately with me, book a free consultation with me on my calendar.
Categories: Practice Strategies