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Practice Thoughts

I have been thinking about practicing quite a lot recently.  It has come up in three ways in my life recently, and I want to share my thoughts with you.

I belong to a group of female musicians, and recently one of the members was talking about feeling like a fraud because she was not practicing.  I know I have gone through this same feeling, most recently in 2016.  That year I practiced like crazy preparing for recording the “Storm Queen” album, but through the rest of the year felt like I was not doing enough.  I was still doing gigs and practicing just enough to perform what I needed to.  I did not have any kind of a regular practice routine.  In late 2016 I started musical instruments in an orchestra during a break.working with my current mentor.  She believes strongly in scheduling, and that was when I started entering practicing into my calendar.  I get up in the morning and practice before I head off to work teaching.  I do this whether I want to or not.  I am human, and if I only practiced when I felt like it, I would not do it as often as I should.  Practicing in the morning works for me because I have the energy to do it then; and gives me a feeling of accomplishment before I head off for my day.  It does not have to happen first thing in the morning for you, you just need to find a time that works and stick to it!

I often run into issues regarding my students practicing as well!  I know that for a lot of my younger students they assume that by the time you are as old as myself that you don’t have to practice anymore.  Children often believe that you learn the violin, and then you are done.  That is not the case!  Playing an instrument is something that you can always improve upon.  The part that is discouraging is that progress is not always linear.  There are times that even though you worked hard, you didn’t feel like you were making much progress; then you will suddenly notice an improvement.  It is not easy to stay motivated during times that you seem to not be progressing.

The final issue that I have run into recently is with adult students.  Often my adult students come to study with me and get frustrated when they don’t sound like me right away.  I am delighted that I make it look so easy; however, it does take a lot of work, and I have been at this for many years now!  You don’t visit other professionals and think that you should be able to do what they are capable of just after a few visits.  It takes time, dedication, and patience to become highly skilled in music.

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