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Today I’m going to be talking about improving endurance while practicing.
Not getting overly tired physically or mentally tired during practice is important because:
—You’ll be able to have longer practice sessions.
—You’ll accomplish more if you are not too mentally exhausted to focus.
So how can we increase our endurance during practice?
1. Make sure you have a proper warm up routine.
—Warming up will slowly warm up your body and mind. This will make it much less frustrating to practice because your warmed up body will be less likely to fail and failure can be frustrating.
—Warming up will also decrease the chance of experiencing pain while practicing. Pain can be a big motivator to stop practicing. Common pains are usually in your back and shoulders.
—Warming up will decrease your chances of injury, which will make it easier to practice longer because of the lack of pain.
2. Take breaks. Taking breaks is probably the easiest way to get a much longer practice session in while not feeling overly tired. Most people can only focus for a maximum of about 45 minutes. If you find your mind wondering and see that you are getting to impatient to properly practice with the metronome etc, then take a 10 or 15 minute break. For example, you can practice 40 min, then break then another 40 minutes then a break, then another 40 minutes. The point is, you practice in 35-45 minute blocks of time.
—The easiest way to practice significantly longer is to divide your practice sessions in 2 parts. Perhaps you can practice in the morning and in the afternoon/evening. For example, each practice session will consist of two 40 minute sessions. Practice 40 minutes, take a 10 min break, then practice another 40 minutes. Later in the day, do the same thing and you’ll end up easily putting in at least 2.5 hours of practice every day and remain fresh and focused the whole time. Do this 3X per day and you can easily put in 4hours + practicing per day.
3. Mix up your practice session. Let’s say you have to practice 3 things besides your warm up. For example, you can do:
—Warm-up (scales and vibrato)
—Bach (two movements)
Instead of practicing your Bach for 45 minutes before you move on to something else, just practice back for 20-25 minutes and then your etude for 20-25 miniatures. Then go back to Bach and then to your concerto or etude. By breaking up your practice session with each individual piece, you are avoiding getting complacent and bored. Always try to keep it fresh and interesting!
4. Practice while sitting down. I suggest practicing most of your technical type of music sitting down. Orchestra music and etudes especially or when you are learning the notes/rhythms of any piece. Utilize standing practice for pieces that you will perform for an audience in the future. There are many benefits to standing while practicing that will help you be a better performer but all things that can be practicing sitting down, will save your energy.
Good luck and happy practicing!