Suzuki said to only practice on the days you eat. It must have been his wry way to say: "Practice every day." That is sound advice; and in reality, there is so much progress to be made by practicing every day. But life intervenes. We've been practicing for many many days now. But twice during that stretch, my daughter had to practice without an instrument because it was simply not safe to bring her instrument into the back-country where she was on a school trip.
"Go in front of a mirror with your instrument, look at yourself and tell yourself what recipe, from several contradictory elements will make you the best artist. The ingredients are repetition vs spontaneity. Relaxation vs control. Confidence vs humility. After all, technical discipline does bring us artistic freedom. We just have to figure out on any given day what the recipe is to make us the best artist we can be."
Having a plan for practice makes for smoother, more effective practices.
Confidence comes from knowing that your route will take you where you want to go. Whether it's about the mastery of a certain piece of music or about the long road to become a confident player, it's about trusting that the process will get you there.
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.
A perpetual search for novelty in practice revealed some cool ways to use real-time audio recording to enhance practice.
While the Suzuki method focuses on consistent, rather than rapid progress, it’s definitely more enjoyable to play better and to progress.
Her breaking point, it turned out, was Kreutzer #11.
Well, I can't exactly guarantee frustration-free practice but we can try.
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.