Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Plan for Your Summer Practice

It's been a crazy day! Today was my last day of teaching before taking a month off. I'm looking forward to gardening and "putting up" the garden, attending a family reunion, cleaning the house, tackling miscellaneous projects, preparing for the Ken Kolodner event planned for July 27 ...  etc, etc. Lessons were scheduled end-to-end, 9am - 6pm. We had another afternoon of thunder storms and heavy rains. Late in the day, one student called while en route to her lesson to say she had to stop and go back home because the roads were overwhelmed with water, creating a dangerous situation.

I'm glad to report, the weather has calmed. The waters are receding. Tomorrow is the 4th of July. We are well into summer, Folks! If you haven't set some summer music goals, now's the time. Here's a suggested plan for structuring your summer practice, adapted from ideas found at the Molto Music's website, a site dedicated to answering one question ... "What is the best way to learn a musical instrument." Remember, these are goals to be accomplished this summer, and should be achievable by Labor Day.
  • Make two lists: 1) All the tunes you'd like to learn this summer, and 2) All the new techniques you'd like to master. Don't spend too much time on this. Brainstorm and write down your ideas quickly.
  • From the first list, choose 3-5 tunes that stand out to you for any reason. 
  • Pick one tune from this short list as your main objective for the summer.
  • Select two additional goals from the technique list. These will be your secondary goals and should ideally be objectives that support the accomplishment of your main goal. For example, does your new tune require improved valley rolls? or bounced triplets? or 3-note rolled chords? Do you need to work on accuracy of scale runs? Do you want to focus on chords or rhythmic ideas in order to come up with a backup for your new tune? You get the idea.
  • Write down your goals.
  • Before each practice session, read your written goals and design your practice time around them.
Words of wisdom:  Summer is no time to get bogged down. In addition to these goals, don't forget to leave time to play the stuff that is just plain fun. If you feel like it, tell us your "main goal" tune in the comment section below. Maybe you'll inspire somebody!! Be safe, and keep practicing!

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