“Time” to practice

"Time" to practiceLike many of my students, I took some time off over the summer. I was playing a lot of gigs, but was not focusing on practicing. It has been nice to get back into a routine! I have been reading about business and time management and have run into the same idea repeatedly. I have decided to apply it to my practicing so I am now using a timer!

So, what is the advantage of using a timer? I come up with a plan for my practice session before I start and then stick to it. For example if I were going to practice for an hour I might make the following plan:

  • 5 minutes: 1 minute bow exercise (link back to my 1 minute blog)
  • 10 minutes: scales
  • 10 minutes: technique exercise
  • 15 minutes: reviewing old fiddle tunes
  • 20 minutes: learning new material

I then set my timer, and start practicing. When the timer rings, no matter where I am, I move on to the next part of my practice session.

So far I am really pleased with how well this technique is going. I see three major advantages:

  1. I know that there is a finite amount of time that I am going to spend on learning or improving a technique or piece. I am not trying to perfect it today, just improve on it.
  2. I am able to focus much better. I now don’t feel like I am practicing and having to focus for a full hour because it is now broken down into smaller, manageable chunks.
  3. I actually work on everything that I was planning on practicing. I have had many practice sessions where I have gotten focused on one thing and run out of time to work on other material.

Do you have any tricks that help you practice more efficiently?

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