plan a practice routine with me
Hi everyone. today I’m going to show you how I plan a practice routine. For now, I’m laying a bit low since I don’t have any big performances coming up so I thought I’d share some ideas for chill moments when you’re in between projects, but you can change it in any way to suit your own needs. I essentially break it down into 3 sections— configuration/meditation, deep detailed practice, and in context practice. No matter what I’m preparing for, my routine looks about the same, I just the amount of time spent on the last two sections based on what my needs are at the moment. Let’s go :-)
The first step, configuration and meditation is somthing that I really try to avoid skipping. It’s the equivalent of keeping up good hygene or stretching before an intensive workout. Without it, a lot of mental stress and lack of nuance in your playing can develop because you’re not exercising the analytical part of your mind. Right now I’m doing vamos double stops, but other ones I’d recommend are schradiek or kreutzer études very slowly. Anything that you can focus a good amount on tone production and intonation. This is an opportunity to open your ear and also mentally practice listening to different things about your playing. When i’m doing this portion of the practice routine, I am listening for the amount of overtones being produced and trying my best to sink into the sound.
Next I continue the theme of aural engagement by playing a scale in the key of the piece I’m going to practice during the session and again really think about the quality of the sound and the harmonization of the scale. When I feel comfortable in the shapes of the scale then I speed things up to feel the facility of my left hand.
After that, I will do deep practice on spots that I know I need to work on in my pieces. Or if my brains not quite ready for that yet, I do slow practice on Bach. I try to always have a Bach in my routine because the shapes and harmonies are so commonly used in most of our repertoire and it’s beautiful music to wake up to. My rule is to always play it at a slow motion tempo to start, to become familiar with the harmony and sound. It makes me aware of the movements of each hand, what each note feels like when it’s played in just the right spot.
For spot practice, I really try to isolate the issues best I can. If I can’t diagnose the issue right away, I start by isolating the left and right hand so practicing with just open strings, or just an articulated left hand. Some ways to help align the two hands are practicing the passages in rhythms, playing only open strings with the right hand, and stopping the bow at precise points to manage the usage. For double stop passages, i often play the voices seperately or play just the chords i want to highlight. if you have a lot of chords in a row it’s also great to play them pizzicato.
fter I feel more confident in the spot I’m looking at I will play it in context, so I back up to the beginning of that section or line. This is a place I usually loose patience if I’m not still in the zone, but keep it up! You want to find the angle where you can hit the tricky spot and have it still feel the comfort you worked up to. This is also where I get the most inspiration for musical ideas which i havent practiced yet. I think of this as an opportunity to mess around and find what ideas you like and don't like.
Repeat the spot practice and in context practice for all the places you want to work on
Towards the end of working on a piece I play through a large section to see how much technique I can rely on from the session and also to just enjoy myself. the main point of this section is to feel yourself falling back on the technique you work up to during the session, dont be hard on yourself if everything doesn’t line up straight away, as some things need time away from the instrument to really cemement themselves. Don't underestimate the power of mental practice, especially if you're going to perform a piece soon! Over playing pieces or glossing over things too many times can make it into a bad habit, so remember to reinforce everything you liked in your practice session in after the fact.
That's all from me for now, good luck :-)