How to Practice 22 hours a Week

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Larry McDonald
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Re: How to Practice 22 hours a Week

Post by Larry McDonald » Sun Apr 01, 2012 5:06 pm

Hi,
I recommend that students practice the length of their attention span.

I practice until I begin to make mistakes (I don't like to practice mistakes), which is usually between 1-1 and a half hours. Like Segovia, I do this twice a day. Plus, I teach CG about 25 hours a week and usually play a gig or two. Works for me.

Interestingly, one of the similarities between experts from various fields, (music, chess, surgery and the like) was 2 hours of practice/study, mostly in the morning, for many years.

"If you practice with your fingers, no length of time is enough. If you practice with your mind, 2 hours is plenty." -quoted from a famous violinist.


All the best,
Lare

Praeludium
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Re: How to Practice 22 hours a Week

Post by Praeludium » Sun Apr 01, 2012 5:48 pm

It also depends of my current repertoire - at least it's the case for me. I'm working on the Prelude and the Gigue&Double BWV997, on Tedesco's Tarantella and on Takemitsu's In the woods, and three hours a day is not enough, if I want to be secure with them (it's for an exam in the last week of may). And this is far from being a 1h30 long recital program. I guess that when you're a regularly concertizing musician you can easily work most of the day being focused. (well I guess it depends on what you play..)
I wonder how much Caballero work, with all the impossible repertoire he has. Or how much the guitarists who specialize in contemporary music (Pablo Marquez, Elena Casoli, David Starobin, etc.) work...

I like your quote, Larry. Can we have the name ?
Cette dernière trahison m'a été également reprochée. Ce que je trouve à répondre, c'est:"merde aux conventions!"

- Ligeti

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robin loops
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Re: How to Practice 22 hours a Week

Post by robin loops » Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:08 pm

For me it also helps to break my practice sessions into different types of activity. I start with an hour or so of technical studies for warm up. Segovia scales and julianni 120 right hand studies to start and then move on to some other excercises (slurs, scales, arpeggios, etc) then take a short break. It's actually a bit tough to limit this first group to just an hour. Then I work on some segovia studies and some sight reading practice reading through simple pieces in a few anthologies for another hour or so. Break-> on to working on more serious pieces for another hour or so-> lunch break -> another hour or so of reading through new pieces (or working on old ones). I vary this routine somewhat depending on what I'm working on and how much time I have on any given day. This covers the first 4-5 hours and any time I spend after that I basically play for enjoyment, although this often involves working through pieces or sight reading more new material or even playing other styles entirely.

By mixing it up, each mini practice session actually ends up feeling quite short. As opposed to working on 2 or 3 difficult pieces for hours on end which would drive me batty (well, more batty) from the monotony.

As far as getting the routine established... I have very recently started up classical study after a long break as well (only a couple of months or so). At first for me it helped having a very consistent morning routine... Get up-> have my coffee-> plan my approach for the day and bang out an hour or so. Same thing every day! For a while I just let the rest fall into place and was pretty free with what I'd work on/approach as well as when/how much time after that (first hour) but was religious about that morning routine. Before long (a couple of weeks) I was right back up to organized routine for entire practice session. Also helps to set specific goals for each day... if you make your morning practice routine an hour of nothing more than technical studies and scales you'll be dying to play some 'real' music afterwards and another hour or two will soon fall into place. Also helps me when focussing on scales and right hand studies to try an make them as musical as possible (as opposed to just banging them out with mechanical motions). Also helps to have an entire day off once a week. Keeps me from burning out and also gives hands/body much needed rest. It's not that I don't play at all on this day but I don't allow myself to 'study' and only play for enjoyment and for limited amount of time as well.

I would think that any variation of this type of approach adapted for the amount of time you want to spend each day would work equally as well. Example: half hour sets in stead of hour long... Or even 15 minute... Just don't skip the warmup routine and jump right in. A major problem I had in the past was jumping right in to the more serious stuff when I didn't have as much time to practice. Aside from risk of injury (it's akin to jumping right into a football/soccer match without stretching out and warming up first) I've found it's counterproductive anyway. If I warm up first I end up playing the good stuff much better with much less time.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
-James-

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Larry McDonald
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Re: How to Practice 22 hours a Week

Post by Larry McDonald » Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:06 pm

Praeludium wrote: I like your quote, Larry. Can we have the name ?
Here ya go.
From a post that I wrote last summer about diagnostics and remediation....

"Consider the following from the Ericsson article cited above:

“The famous violinist Nathan Milstein wrote: “Practice as much as you feel you can accomplish with concentration. Once when I became concerned because others around me practiced all day long, I asked [my mentor] Professor Auer how many hours I should practice, and he said, ‘It really doesn’t matter how long. If you practice with your fingers, no amount is enough. If you practice with your head, two hours is plenty.’”

Lare

Praeludium
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Re: How to Practice 22 hours a Week

Post by Praeludium » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:53 pm

Thanks !
Cette dernière trahison m'a été également reprochée. Ce que je trouve à répondre, c'est:"merde aux conventions!"

- Ligeti

JohnGrinsted

Re: How to Practice 22 hours a Week

Post by JohnGrinsted » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:36 pm

Simply play for 3 hours a day, and four hours on a Sunday. This equals 22 hours exactly. :)

John

kkruecke
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Re: How to Practice 22 hours a Week

Post by kkruecke » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:41 pm

I just got done reading the book Practising by Glenn Kurtz. It motivated me to practice. I shooting for 1/2 hour a day.

bunglenutter
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Re: How to Practice 22 hours a Week

Post by bunglenutter » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:47 pm

I barely get an hour a day! I'm so ashamed.
Waffle iron?

kkruecke
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Re: How to Practice 22 hours a Week

Post by kkruecke » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:31 pm

That's more than me presently. Be proud.

puttputt

Re: How to Practice 22 hours a Week

Post by puttputt » Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:06 pm

Oof. I would love to practice for more than two hours a day. My two year old son HATES it when I play guitar. He literally yells, "NOOOO!!!" when I pick it up. Then he either tries to cover the strings with his hands or drive one of his trains up and down the neck. This means I can only practice -- very softly -- after he goes to bed. It's kind of frustrating, but adorable at the same time, so I can't get mad. It's gotta be a phase, right? Someday he'll think it's cool...

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kloeten
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Re: How to Practice 22 hours a Week

Post by kloeten » Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:51 pm

Funny and very familiar story.
My 2.5 year old son used to love it when I played, but nowadays he wants to play himself but indeed he destroys the guitar if we are not careful.
I think I will buy a toy guitar soon and lock my guitar case. Fortunately he doesn't get mad (yet)!

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Ted O'Farrell
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Re: How to Practice 22 hours a Week

Post by Ted O'Farrell » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:31 pm

From what I remember reading, the great guitarist Andre Segovia would break up his practicing 40/60. 40% scales and technique and 60% of his time on repertoire. He would start in the morning, then take a break, go on a walk, etc. and then return, work a little more then take another break, then work a little more.... granted, when you have a family, job, kids, other responsibilities - it can get very hard to find the time to practice... I found one suggestion that when practicing try one day working on technique, the next day work on repertoire. I guess the key is to make it a priority and a habit... Practicing throughout the day, if possible, in little amounts of time can show wonders in one's playing. I think I'll go practice... :P :)
Hector Marrero 2001
"A Good Cup of Coffee"

"Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart." Andres Segovia

choctawchas
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Re: How to Practice 22 hours a Week

Post by choctawchas » Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:47 pm

let us not forget that Segovia also drank wine everyday at lunchtime and dinner,which is why scales and technique were drilled just after lunch
and just after dinner.
Oliver Moore 2012
Miles Henderson Smith 2012

Peter_Mortelmans

Re: How to Practice 22 hours a Week

Post by Peter_Mortelmans » Tue May 01, 2012 3:18 pm

I have a job and a family, so I'm happy if I can play 10 hours a week. From those 10 hours, 3 or are spent with my steel string or my electric guitar. I am still feeling that I make good progress on all 3 guitars, and that's the most important. I also believe that "passive training" has a positive effect. I read a lot of sheet music during my daily commute, or during other wasted moments.
For (semi-) professional guitar players, I think the optimal practice duration is very personal (talent, discipline, ...). The same is true for professional atheletes. some train 4 hours a day. Others 8 or 10.

cool09
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Re: How to Practice 22 hours a Week

Post by cool09 » Mon May 07, 2012 6:39 pm

That regimen just about kills your life. And I definitely can't get up an hour earlier any day of the week. The older I get the longer my naps get.

And a comedic addition: "You ever take a nap and wake up and don't know what Goddamn day it is?" - George Carlin. "Or walk into a room and forget the reason why you went into the room? Then two words come into your mind...Alzheimer's Disease!"

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