Couple of basic tips for practice.
How to reach effectiveness of learning process? In the next article you will be given a couple of basic tips, how to think about your practice process to keep concentration, energy and motivation.
- Do not praktice every day the same way! Change an order of your practice duties after couple of days.
If you practise every day in the same order, begin with scales, continue with etudes and finish with compositions, your earning process may not be that effective. Additionaly, you raise doubts about your ability to play well for every casein which you cannot follow this habit and you must play a composition straight…this can be an extra reason for your uncertainty before lessons, exams and concerts.
Divide your practice material into couple of categories and change their order after some time. For example, you have scales and technique exercises as category a, etudes as category b and compositions as category c. (You can also divide composition category to more categories according to your needs or create your own way of categories in general.)
Now, first two days, you practice in order a, b, c. Third day, you change to a, c, b. Some day, you can play just the c and the other day a and b. There is no rule when to make a change and in which order, because all of you is specific person of particular needs. Try to follow your feelings and condition. Generally, it is good to make a change when you find your brain not effective enough, your concentration turns off, you get bored. Alos, the issue is that you you loose too much energy for first categories and you can miss it for the c category. Also, you fix our brain to certain order and makeup rigid.
- If you wish to be effective, make breaks!
Since couple of repetition, your minds stops concentrating fully on what you want to learn.
According to research, our brains usually concentrate fully on one certain activity or task around 20 minutes. Within this time, the brain absorbs information given from us and “writes it” to the bran structures. If you keep going with the same instruction over and over, after some time, you are basically just rewriting something you have already written to your brain. Additionally, after a time, your ability to give an information well decreases, therefore you start ruining your own work. You all know this issue and you all are able to detect when this time comes. Stop playing and have a break!
This break should follow after those 20 minutes of some work, but it does not mean that you have to be precise or set an alarm clock. You can if you want, but rather read your needs well even without it.
This break should be short, just to recover. Leave your instrument for a while, stretch, think about what you will do next and continue.
To be effective, change a material to practice after a break – change a stimuli for your brain.
It is crucial, how do you spend your break. Watching videos, facebook, cell phone or TV is not a good idea. Stay with your work, compensate it by stretching or planning of further work.
- Bring full awareness to your practice.
Once you play, just play. Do not split your attention to more things. Many students turn some movie or series on to make their time with instrument more comfortable. Although they do basically not watch it, their brain can loose the focus. Make enough breaks with adequate rest and you will definitely make your practice more comfortable!
- Do not think, you have to play through all your material every day!
This is very stressful, especially when you already play huge repertoire. Do not forget to define your priorities. Not all the material or its parts requires everyday focus.
- Do not overpractise and overplay!
This topic brings similar outcome as the part about the breaks. If there is something that makes our brains bored, it is one-sided work. It does not bring much progress. We need to apply diversity and change of problems sebe solved during practice time.
Overplaying with loosing awareness is also wrong way to go. We usually overplay when having no strategy, no goal or aim of our practice time. Avoid this way of overplaying by making your aims clear, making breaks and planning your practice time wisely.
Also, if you overplay the same problem of some kind for too long, your tissues can tend to pain or even to tendinitis problems, if the motion in your hand is of repetitive character.
- Keep your practice time balanced!
This means that you should pay an attention to all the aspects of playing – 1. technique cultivation and application to etudes and compositions, 2. Interpretation and expression questions and issues, 3. ability to play whole pieces, work with the whole and understanding the context of the whole.
To grow complexly, you should focus on all these aspects. Do not focus just on one of those for day or the worse, whole week. Try to have in mind all the aspects within your practice time but also compositions themselves(within every composition – there are all these aspects included and you should consider them all).
Do not push yourself to strictly control the balance during only day – (some day you can be very productive within one aspect), but think of that during couple of days, or one week.
- Do not fix on one practice room!
If you have a chance, try to practise in different room sometimes. You all know how different your concentration can be when you change the background. You can train your fast adaptability by changing the places to practise.
- Stretch after EVERY practice time!
I am sure you all know at least some stretching exercise. In some of the next articles I will share suitable compensation techniques. For now, use what you know yourself and stretch or train after every practice! You will make useful habbit.