Category: Practice rss

Posts

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03 December Alan Duncan / practice

Kids seldom need help playing fast. But they do need help playing fast well. Tempo ladders are one way to bring some organization to the process of going faster.

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11 November Alan Duncan / practice
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26 June Alan Duncan / practice

While the Suzuki method focuses on consistent, rather than rapid progress, it’s definitely more enjoyable to play better and to progress.

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30 April Alan Duncan / practice
Her breaking point, it turned out, was Kreutzer #11. Somehow the parenting lessons that are the most obvious are the easiest to forget. After a concerto competition, a three week-long music festival, and a busy chamber music workshop, my daughter was done. Like, really done. But since her teacher just gave her the Kreutzer #11 to start working on, I jumped into helping her map out all the shifts.
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25 March Alan Duncan / practice
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19 September Alan Duncan / practice
After climbing for hours in the thin air of Colorado my son and I reached what we thought was the summit of our first 14’er. Descending climbers quashed our hopes by informing us that we had only reached the first of a series of false summits. To reach the true summit, it would take bursts of effort to power us over these little peaks. Finally, at the summit we were greeted by incomparable vistas and a sense of accomplishment that made the extra effort worthwhile.
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11 September Alan Duncan / practice

The search for new games and angles to keep review pieces in play is endless. We recently made up a new one. (Who knows, maybe it’s not new; but it’s new to us.)

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05 June Alan Duncan / practice
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25 May Alan Duncan / practice

Metaphors, descriptive visual comparisons, can inspire understanding of stylistic and technical details in ways that more direct descriptions cannot.

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28 January Alan Duncan / practice
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09 January Alan Duncan / practice
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06 December Alan Duncan / practice
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03 August Alan Duncan / practice
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20 February Alan Duncan / practice
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15 January Alan Duncan / practice

Procrastination (what my mother used to call “dawdling”) is almost universal among kids. Here are some ways to prevent it from derailing practice.

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09 January Alan Duncan / practice
From The Strad, 12 ways to encourage children to practice. These are almost all things that Suzuki parents do naturally. I should work on #7: Encourage small-section rather than whole-piece practice. We tend to do that with the most recent working pieces; but we could do more review by focusing on the technically-demanding parts more often. After all, review isn’t solely for the benefit of knowing the pieces. The pieces are there to build ability.
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30 November Alan Duncan / practice
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11 November Alan Duncan / practice
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23 October Alan Duncan / practice

It’s indisputable that the road of progress is paved with good consistent practice. But why worry about making practice more enjoyable? Much of Suzuki pedagogical technique is about making practice fun. But why? After all, at young age, we can simply impose our will and make practice happen.

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12 October Alan Duncan / practice / game

Over the years, I’ve collected quite a few things in my practice kit - my bag of tricks that we use during practice. It’s quite a diverse collection of objects, some more useful that others. Let’s unpack it and see what’s in there:

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22 May Alan Duncan / practice / organization
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21 May Alan Duncan / practice / organization
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20 May Alan Duncan / practice / technique
As a youngster, no one really taught me how to practice. I was admonished to practice but never showed how to practice. With the pressure of time, concert preparations, and general busyness, I’ve come to develop my own techniques. Last summer, for example, I gave a performance of one of the Beethoven piano trios; and I went so far as cataloguing all of the tricky spots that needed special attention and developing a spreadsheet of those spots and the current tempo markings.
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15 May Alan Duncan / practice

Someone published a piece in the American Suzuki Journal nearly 12 years ago entitled “20 Memos from your Child” (ASJ 21:4, August 1993.) These are thoughts that I need to remind myself of as we approach practice.

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28 May Alan Duncan / practice

The metronome is an essential tool for practicing with rhythmic accuracy and for developing velocity in a disciplined way. In this post I’ll describe some of the pitfalls I’ve encountered as a musician using the metronome for practice and how it can be applied by us Suzuki practice parents.