Tag: Practice rss


16 January 2019 / Alan Duncan / practice

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.

03 December 2018 / 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.

11 November 2018 / Alan Duncan / practice
26 June 2018 / 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.

30 April 2018 / 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.
25 March 2018 / Alan Duncan / practice
19 September 2017 / 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.
11 September 2017 / 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.)

25 May 2017 / Alan Duncan / practice

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

08 March 2017 / Alan Duncan / tools

Today I want to share a new discovery about putting repetitions on autopilot. No, not the mindless wash-rinse-spin-repeat sort of repetition, but a way of polishing a bracketed section of a piece to build evenness and velocity. The example I’ll give is relevant to the violin repertoire but the practice technique is broadly applicable.

28 January 2017 / Alan Duncan / practice
09 January 2017 / Alan Duncan / practice
06 December 2016 / Alan Duncan / practice
03 August 2016 / Alan Duncan / practice
31 May 2016 / Alan Duncan / psychology
20 February 2016 / Alan Duncan / practice
09 February 2016 / Alan Duncan / technology
Although we’re generally pretty technology-light at our house when it comes to raising kids, there are a few music apps that have sneaked into our daily use during in practice. Here’s a quartet of apps that we use. I apologize that this is iPhone-centric; but that’s what we have here. Decide Now! This is a simple roulette wheel that the child can spin. You can use it to pick a section of a piece to work on, pick review pieces, or decide on the number of repetitions.
31 January 2016 / Alan Duncan / resources
30 January 2016 / Alan Duncan / resources
15 January 2016 / 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.

09 January 2016 / 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.
19 December 2015 / Alan Duncan / relationship
19 December 2015 / Alan Duncan / relationship
30 November 2015 / Alan Duncan / practice
11 November 2015 / Alan Duncan / practice
07 November 2015 / Alan Duncan / resources
30 October 2015 / Alan Duncan / listening
24 October 2015 / Alan Duncan / resources
23 October 2015 / 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.

12 October 2015 / 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:

22 May 2015 / Alan Duncan / practice / organization
21 May 2015 / Alan Duncan / practice / organization
20 May 2015 / 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.
15 May 2015 / 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.

14 May 2015 / Alan Duncan / relationship / conflict
We are approaching four years of violin studies this fall. We just watched old videos of ViolinGirl in her first efforts. The amount of progress through our very ordinary efforts is incredible. But we still see elements of resistance crop up. I’ll call it “micro-resistance” because it’s not nearlly at the level of frustration and refusal she exhibted at first. For the first year, she would roll on the floor screaming about taking her violin out of the case.
28 May 2014 / 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.