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  • Writer's pictureAlexander Abayev

How to Practice Violin (or Piano) Effectively - Part One

How To Practice Home Advice from Alexander Abayev, violinist

How to make my home practice most efficient?

It is probably the most important question that needs to be answered - both by a student and his/her teacher.

The greatest challenge for many students nowadays is finding time to practice their instrument - as regular school schedule, homework load, sports and other after-school activities may easily consume all of those very few hours left after regular school day.

Thus, every minute of home practice should be 100 percent efficient and bring some noticeable results and achievements.

1. Starting your home practice session.

A good warm-up is a MUST. Like in sports, you have to prepare your muscles to perform effectively special tasks. Do not start with your main piece or concerto, spend at least 15-20 minutes playing scales (start in slow tempo!) and exercises (Schradieck, Shevchik etc).

Main focus should be on sound quality and intonation. You really have to be a perfectionist at this point! One of the greatest violinists of the 20th century (if not the greatest) Jasha Heifetz would devote one hour of his everyday practice to scales, arpeggios and double-stops.

And he had a quite busy concert schedule, had to travel all over the world - but never skipped this super important step!

2. Now you are ready to work on your piece.

Before you even start, ask yourself a question - what is my goal for today?

It has to be a very clear and simple answer, preferably just one instance - say "I want to improve my intonation" or "I am going to double-check if my rhythm is correct in every phrase" or "I am going to work on dynamics" and alike.

The goal has to be clear and simple to achieve, and the result should be seen almost immediately - sounds good, doesn't it?

Well, in order to enjoy your home practicing, you do need to see some improvement - otherwise home practice will quickly become a dreadful and boring routine. Please don't expect to become a concert virtuoso violinist overnight though :)

It is much more useful to work on just a few lines of your piece but achieve some positive results rather than trying to cover the entire piece at once. "Less is almost always better" in this case


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