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How Long Should You Practice the Fiddle/Violin?

When I finished my part of the recording in late January I was wondering where to go and what to do next. I am proud to say that I have practiced every day in 2023, and I thought I would share with you how I’ve been practicing.

Right now I am mostly focused on maintaining my skills. My goal every day is to practice for 15 minutes. Yes, “just” 15 minutes. I really don’t have any excuse to not do it.  If I were to aim for 1 hour every day, I would definitely skip.

Try Short Practice Sessions

I have always been a believer in short practice sessions.  There are two keys to this:

Use your practice time wisely! 

When I was in high school preparing to go to music school I used to practice for 45 minutes each morning before school. Lots of violinists practice 4 or more hours a day and end up injuring themselves. 

As long as you have a plan in place and use all of your time to the best of your ability, you’ll make progress.

Consistency is key!

I know I have said this before, but practicing 15 minutes every day is better than practicing 2 hours in one day. Using repetition means that when you perform you don’t need to think so much. You have drilled everything into your body, and your body will know what to do when you need it to.

Now, to be fair, I may not only play for 15 minutes. I certainly play around as well, but my actual planned focused practice (for now) is 15 minutes.

A 15-Minute Practice Schedule

So what do I do during my 15 minutes?

  1. I play a three-octave scale slurred in groups of 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, and then one bow up and one bow down.  
  2. I play a three-octave arpeggio slurred in groups of 3, 6, and 9.
  3. I play a double-stop exercise in 3rds.
  4. I play a double-stop exercise in 6ths.
  5. I play a double-stop exercise in octaves.
  6. I play the first 5 exercises from the “No Time to Practice” book.
  7. I finish with a fiddle tune from the new album.

When I started at the beginning of February, I had fewer items because I needed to work on some of the exercises and get my tuning back in shape. Now, I don’t need to stop and work but can play through these exercises. I notice a big difference in just 20 days at 15 minutes a day, and you would too.

Increase Your Practice Time

As we get back into symphony season I will certainly have to do longer practice sessions to learn the music for our concerts. It is all about what you want to do. For me at this moment I am not working on repertoire, simply working on my basic skills to keep them in shape and improve them a bit as we go.

I am sharing this with you just to reassure you that you don’t have to practice for hours every day. You can accomplish a lot with short, very focused, regular practice sessions.

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