Monday, January 9, 2023

The evolution of practice, or how are those resolutions going so far?

 There is a lot of mythology surrounding instrumentalist's practice. I recall reading about legendary players and their infamous practice regimes, and thinking that I had to get into that "8 hours a day, for a start" vibe, otherwise I wasn't going to amount to anything! Truth be told, I have never gotten past about 4 hours at a stretch, or 6 in a day with breaks. I also find a lot of people overestimate or underestimate the amount they put in on their instrument. Played along with music for an hour today? As long as you were aware etc. while you were doing it, I would count that as practice! Staring at a hole in your shoe during hour 10 through 11 of your daily routine? I would contend there may be better ways to spend your time. In fact, the level of engagement, rather than amount of time, is how I currently gage my practice time. For the past 10 years or so, it's a rare day I get beyond an hour of practice, and currently a lot of my sessions are a half hour long. Yet I still feel like I've made a lot of progress. Why? 

1. I do practice almost every single day

Even though the individual sessions are quite short, I find I give my body and mind a lot of chances to process the information.

2. I tend to review what I last did

As well, the last thing I worked tends to lay the groundwork for the next thing I do. It's almost like a lifetime of thematic playing!

3. I don't practice too many things

Often a practice session will be around a single idea or issue

Finally, it's important to realize that one's practice routine evolves over the course of one's life. This current routine I have would probably not be enough for an intermediate or college level player. There's simply too many things to learn and do, and most players at this age haven't even figured out what type of player they'll eventually be. I.E. I don't spend a lot of time working double bass drum chops or stick twirling, and that's entirely a conscious decision! So when figuring out how to practice, look at where you're at and what you need, and don't be afraid to tweak it if you're not finding it effective.

Happy practicing! 

No comments:

Post a Comment