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Violin Lessons: Daily Routine

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I'd like to talk now about a daily
practice routine.
Now every day, maybe slightly different.
Every person's routine may be slightly
But let's talk about what makes an
effective routine.
And I'd like to start by saying that one
of the best things you can do,
is to keep some kind of a log of your
practice routine.
And here on the site, you can look on your
student page and
find practice charts where you can record
exactly what you've been doing every day.
You can share it with me, you can share it
with everyone, or
you can just keep it for yourself.
But it's really a vital tool to know what
you've been doing, so that if you suddenly
start making great progress, you can look
back at those charts and say oh,
well that's when I started practicing
twice as many etudes, or
that's when I started making sure I was
doing scales every day.
So let's start with scales.
They're, we practice them because they're
found everywhere.
They're found all throughout the
repertoire in almost every piece.
They're very adaptable through variations,
and in that way they resemble etudes.
You can make etudes out of scales and you
can practice them in all keys,
all 24 keys, major and minor.
With all bow strokes and with all kinds of
bowing variations.
So they're, they're really vital.
They're the most adaptable things we have
as violinists.
You can use scales to solve all problems,
and when you can play scales and arpeggios
in all tempos and all keys, you can play
just about anything on the violin.
Etudes, we practice because they solve
isolated problems.
And again, you make variations on the
You make more etudes out of etudes, just
like the composers of those always did.
Finally, repertoire, the pieces that
you're working on for performance.
And that could be public performance such
as a recital the orchestra concert or
an audition or competition.
Now the last element not always thought of
much but breaks, breaks are an important
part of a practice routine.
I find that its pretty difficult to
concentrate with great mental focus for
much more than 15 minutes.
That varies from person to person.
But if you're really aware of what's going
on, and
you're really listening to exactly what's
happening, making changes, visualizing,
15 minutes may be about the limit, and a
fairly good ratio is that for
every 15 minutes of great work that you're
doing, 5 minutes break.
Many people, most people I would say, tend
to practice
at much longer stretches at a time, and
then they take longer breaks.
In fact they probably practice a little
bit too much at a time and
some of that is not very efficient.
So I would suggest that if you haven't
tried it recently,
try shorter bursts of practicing.
15 minutes and then a 5 minute break.
And then come back 15 minutes in 5
You may find that you make a lot more
progress cuz you're hitting things more
times in the day.
We find that well, and researchers have
found as well.
That rather than practicing one thing for
a long time, or
studying one thing for a long time in a
day and then waiting til the next day.
If you hit it multiple times during the
day, you make faster progress.
That's true on the violin as well.
The order of the routine doesn't much
You shouldn't jump into the most demanding
physical things right.
Out of the case in the morning, but other
than that, you don't need to do scales,
then etudes, then repertoire, you can bow
start with repertoire first
something that you can do slowly to build
awareness in sound production, let's say.
You can save your scales and etudes until
the end.
Now, a sample routine might consist you
take your total practice time for the day,
whatever you have available.
And you might spend 20% of it, or a fifth,
on scales.
And then another 20% on etudes.
Of course that time in the etudes needs to
be divided up between
etudes of various types and of course
scales in etudes overlap.
Really so you can solve the problem with a
scale rather than an etude and
spend a little less time on etudes.
But let's say that together the scales and
etudes which solve your problems.
They have solve issues of daily
Including working on the fourth finger,
left hand pits, trills, opus staccato,
if you like.
All of that together, that's not concerned
with, with, with repertoire,
maybe 40% of the time.
And then the final 60% is your repertoire,
out of that, you should be performing some
of that each day.
That doesn't have to be performance in
You can perform things under tempo.
But the point is that you are rehearsing
for the performance.
And you're hitting each piece more than
one time each day.
And lastly, during your repertoire, your
60% of your practice that's repertoire,
you can make etudes out of the pieces.
So that the problems you're solving relate
directly to
the repertoire that you're studying.
This is the kind of routine I've used for
And I like the progress I make.