The Pleasure of Practice – Week 2

Hopefully, you’re finding those fifteen minutes every day to practice. Some time-saving advice comes from several of our instructors – leave your instrument out. 

George Eckerd suggests, “Hang your instrument on the wall or, if you don’t have dogs or small children, keep it on a stand in your daily living space. If you can’t keep it out, leave it in the case right next to where you often relax.” That way it’s there, as Frank Hamilton says, “Calling out to you, ‘Play me!’” And it saves you time from getting it out every time you want to play.

Frank also has some information on two types of practice: mass practice and distributed practice. If you took lessons as a kid, you’ll recognize mass practice; it’s what our parents used to make us do. Set the timer for an hour and stay at it until the buzzer rang and you could escape. If you’re playing professionally, this is highly recommended. (Maybe not the timer.) Playing a lot definitely makes you a better player, but that’s not what this article is about right now. It’s about smaller amounts of time to squeeze into our lives.

That’s what distributed practice is – finding small amounts of time to practice every day even at different times of the day. Those fifteen minutes will eventually turn into fifteen minutes in the morning and maybe fifteen minutes while you’re watching TV or waiting for the potato to bake. Those repeated little times also keeps that music going in your head.

And, as John Maschinot tells his students, “Sing (lilt, diddle) tunes out loud to help cement them in your head.” Keeping that tune in your head will help your fingers remember where they need to be when.

So when you’re sitting in traffic and singing your tune or song out loud, feel good! You are practicing!

~ Maura Nicholson