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How to Practice

Today I’m talking about how to practice. A lot of people focus on how much time they practice and while that’s important, it’s arguably much more important to practice properly. When you practice properly, you will be able to accomplish much better results in a very short period of time.

When you are practicing, you will want to focus on 1 simple truth.

Do not practice something until you get it right. Practice it until you cannot get it wrong. When you are practicing, you are training your sub-conscience. Your sub-conscience does NOT distinguish between correct and incorrect, or sloppy and precise. It will simply memorize what you repeatedly do. This is why it is so important to practice “perfectly”.

Remember: Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect!

  • You must play the music CORRECTLY as many times as you can.
  • Be able to play the passage 10X correctly without a mistake at a certain tempo, then gradually build the speed.
  • This is called the 10x rule. Be able to play the passage 10X correctly without a mistake at a certain tempo.
  • If you play something wrong 9 times and then finally get it right on the 10th time. Your brain will simply prioritize and remember the 9x you played it wrong.

Helpful tips and tricks: How do you do this? Well, here are some simple guidelines that will make you a great practicer.

Use a metronome. If perfect practice makes perfect, then use a perfect device and that is the metronome.

  • Use the 10x rule when practicing a passage.
  • Play it perfectly at a slower tempo, then slowly speed up the metronome.
  • Play it perfectly 10x again and then speed up the metronome again.
  • Repeat this process until you can play a fast passage at 10% over the final tempo. This will give you a buffer for performance nerves or lack of focus.

Figure out all of your bowings and fingerings BEFORE you practice and always be consistent.

  • NEVER make up the bowings and fingerings for anything on the fly.
  • Write them in your music before you practice a passage and then be very consistent about following them.

Always properly warm-up. When you warm up, you are not only warming up your muscles but also your mind. You will have a much more successful practice if you warm up properly. I suggest scales and arpeggios WITH a metronome.

Hope that helps and happy practicing!