I recently read The Musician’s Way a Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness by Gerald Kickstein. This book was extremely helpful in reminding me how I should practice and how to treat and protect myself as a musician. In order to succeed on your musical path, practice is the only way that will get you there. In the music world, talent is important but the musical progress depends on practice more than on talent. Talent represents the potential within you but practice makes you realizes your potential. But not every way of practice will show positive progress. Throughout this paper I will discuss how to get organized, how to practice deeply, how to have a fearless performance and lastly how to recognize injury and prevent injuries.
College musicians nowadays are studying music under pressure due to jury exam, recitals etc…People tends to take shortcuts of the correct ways to practice in order to save time because of the poor time management or not having enough time for practice due to heavy school work. Since time is already not enough, we should all practice in the correct way therefore we can get the best result in the shortest amount of time, and also the most important point, make beautiful music in the performance. There are a lot of things that I think it is really important fundamentals to know when practicing, although some are simple but in my opinion these are essential.
First we need to know what practice really is, Yehudi Menuhin the violinist said, “practice is not forced labor; it is a refined art that partakes of intuition, of inspiration, patience, elegance, clarity, balance, and, above all, the search for ever greater joy in movement and expression.” There are five points of how to get a practice organized; the very first one is about the practice environment. Practice environment is extremely important, not only as a workplace, but also as a source of inspiration. The practice room essential varies, this list is for vocalist. 1. Music stand, 2. Notebook and pencils, 3. Electronic metronome, 4. Correct turned piano, 5. Clock (keep a record of practice time), 6. Mirror (for monitoring movement habits), 7. Audio recorder, 8. Water (drink plenty of water especially for vocalist), 9. Adequate lighting and climate control, 10. Relative quiet and privacy, 11. A room that can hear the resonance of your own voice (not a room with heavy insulation board). The second part is how to plan a productive practice session; there are couple of small areas that I think it is really important in order to plan a practice session. To work on a large quantity of music efficiently, Klickstein recommended sorting them into five zones. 1. New material – Divide into sections, establish interpretive/technical plan, and slow tempo. 2. Developing material – Refine interpretation, increase tempo, and memorization. 3. Performance material – practice performing, maintains memory, renew and innovate. 4. Technique – Diction, Arpeggios, scales and etc. 5. Musicianship – Sight reading, theory/ear training, listening/study.
Now we know how to plan a practice session, let’s find out about how to schedule practice sessions, in my opinion there is also five points of scheduling practice sessions. First is practice regularly, our artistic evolution is best served by steady, the practice time does not have to be long but similar amount of playing or singing each day is essential. Second point is practice more times than long time, try to arrange several practice sessions each day, maybe start off in the morning, practice in the afternoon, and practice before bedtime. Third is taking breaks between small sessions, generally you rest ten minutes of each hour that you practice, but for vocalist should be 20~30 minutes and rest 10 minutes. Fourth point is increasing your practice time gradually, and when you increase the practice time it also needs to be consistent. The last point of how to schedule practice...
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