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What Does it Mean to Practice?

Updated: Jan 1, 2022

To practice means to do something over and over until you are better at it than when you first began. A practice session might be divided into three parts...

Warm Up: Pick something easy like scales, and then maybe an easy tune. Work on proper posture, good hand position, playing each note in tune, keeping your bow straight, and producing a nice tone. Depending on your ability, you may be able to focus on only one or two of these skills at a time.

Challenge: Pick something in your music that you aren't able to play well. Playing the whole tune repeatedly isn't going to fix the broken parts. Have you heard the saying, "Practice makes permanent"? Continuing to play the challenging parts wrong every time will only make them permanent. Pick one difficult phrase and start at the beginning, playing slowly, note by note, repeating, and adding a few more notes each time. Some have found it helps to start with the last few notes of the phrase, then start adding a note or two earlier in the phrase and playing to the end of the phrase, gradually working back towards the beginning of the phrase. Try it both ways and see what works for you. As you feel more comfortable with the notes, you can speed it up a little, but If you start making mistakes again, slow down and go back to playing note by note. Don't be surprised if you finally get it, but the next day you have forgotten part of it again. Sometimes it takes a few days.

Reward: Play some familiar tunes you enjoy. You don't want to forget them! Work on adding expression, playing some notes and phrases a little louder and some a little softer. Would the tune sound even better if you shortened up a note or lengthened a note here or there? Can you make the waltz sound even smoother and more beautiful, or put even more bounce into the jig?

Happy practicing, and if you have any other suggestions, let us know!

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