Tips for Classical Musicians

Tag: classical music advice

The Best Classical Music Practice Tips

Getting started with classical music training is only the start of the journey, we all need to practice and here are some of the best classical music practice tips to help you develop and grow.

  1. Find A Quiet Place

This might seem obvious but it will not only make you far less likely to succumb to distractions but entering a designated practice are whether it is just the corner of your living room or a particular room helps to mentally prepare you for this kind of work. Mindful intention means a lot and you can help set this intention by having a ritual in place of going to the same place each time.

 

2. Ready Your Supplies

Cellist David Finckel has a 100 video series on YouTube known as “Cello Talks” where he says that you do not even need to play the cello to get much out of most of them. Part of what he covers might seem like very basic advice such as the discussion of his practice space. He advices his audience to keep a very clean eraser along with a pencil sharpener close by as well as a pencil for marking up music. This seems simple but it is one of those little things that are easily forgotten and you can easily waste a lot of time if you have to start searching for them. A top classical music practice tip to keep in mind!

 

3.Technology As A Training Aid

Technology is an amazing aid but only if you do not spend too much time fiddling with it. I have 3 low-cost or free apps on my iPad a phone: a timer, a tuner, and a metronome since they are important practice tools. I also carry my phone with me everywhere (as most of us do) so it’s technology you can trust to have to hand.

 

4. Classical Music Tip – Start With an End in Mind

Always have a goal for every practice session before you begin playing. Simply playing music is not the same thing as practicing. You should think about what you would like to accomplish that particular day before you begin. If you aren’t too sure about what to focus on, you can ask your teacher / mentor for several concrete goals you can work toward before the next lesson. Note these goals down so that you are able to refer to them in your practice sessions.

 

classical music practice tips

 

5. Mapping Classical Music Practice Sessions like Workouts

Many musicians love starting with some breathing exercises and a few stretches before they ever pick up any instrument. Even if you don’t reach that extent, a relatively common scenario is to warm-up using scales to loosen up the muscles and get the brain thinking about technique. Next, move to the “working” part that involves analyzing and attempting to solve problems. Finally, cool down by improvising or revisiting music that you already know well.

 

6. Practicing Smarter, Not Necessarily Longer

If you have a focused objective you can easily accomplish much more within a shorter amount of time. Science even tells us that the amount of willpower that you can draw upon is limited. You thus need to make the most of the time available to you. Assume that you are having problems with a couple of tricky measures. Set a timer for a short period (say 5 to 10 minutes), then focus exclusively on one problem in as many ways as possible. You can even break it down into successively smaller and manageable bits, go very slow, change the rhythm, and try playing the passage backward, whatever. If you still have problems with that trouble spot, make a mental note to come back to it again tomorrow. It is highly likely that it will be much easier then.

 

7. Classical Music Practice Tip – Don’t Always Start At The Beginning Each Time

Don’t forget about maximizing your willpower and time. It feels quite good to hear yourself playing beautifully at the beginning of a piece but you can easily find yourself wasting the limited energy and time that you have. It can also lead to performances that start strongly but wilt along the way.

 

8. Challenging Yourself

This refers to challenging yourself physically. This is particularly important if you are attempting to wrestle down a problematic element. Scientific research say that adding a physical challenge to a difficult task such as attempting to play the part while walking or standing on one leg forces the brain to start creating new neural pathways. When you resume doing the original task, it will be much easier.

 

classical music practice tips for all instruments

 

9. Practicing Away From Your Instruments

Visualization is a tool that many musicians use just as athletes do: They run through music without actually touching any instruments. When you have some downtime such as during a train or car journey, you can try bringing your music along with you either on a mobile device or on paper then read through it silently. Envisage yourself practicing but only in your mind, you will be amazed how much of an impact this visualization can have.

 

10. Rewarding Your Hard Work

To help the brain automate good habits, you need to reward hard work in a positive way. This might sound like plain old bribery but it is backed by science. Charles Duhigg, who authored The Power of Habit writes that finding something that the brain likes helps it remember the “habit loop”.

 

You can get more information on Classical Music culture and importance of practice with our blog on 50 things to remember in the practice room.

 

July 19, 2017     0 Comments   , , ,

Productivity for Musicians (Planning)

What is exactly is being productive? Does it mean staying focus for a period of time? Is it what I need to do in order to play at my best level?

Those were some of the questions I asked myself when I first approached the term productivity. I wanted a straight to the point guide. How can I prepare the Tchaikovsky concerto the fastest, easiest and most effective way?

Fear no more! I will explain productivity with stuff I’ve tried and what others have taught me.

Here we go!

If you subscribe to my colleague Dr. Noa Kageyama at his Bulletproofmusician blog, you will get a Practice Hacking Guide. This guide will get you on the right track.

It is evident that you need to be willing to work hard in order to change bad habits for good ones, but keep in mind that as a musician you’ve already build strong elements to do it. By spending many hours in the practice room you already considered a disciplined individual.

Now, the question is—how long should I practice?

Here are some good answers to that question! (You can come back after reading the whole post) J

How Many Hours I day Should I Practice (Must read)

http://www.guitartricks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11952

http://www.violinist.com/blog/weekendvote/20094/9974/

Today I want to provide you with an effective productivity plan. Not just my opinion on how long you should practice but more like how to take 100% of your efforts home.

Planning

In order to take advantage of every second you destined to practice, you must have a plan.

  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • How are you going to do that?
  • What strategies are you going to use?
  • How long will it take?

Planning a practice session is like planning out your life. You give direction and try to reach those goals while preparing other tasks. You can’t waste time—it’s limited.

Let’s say that you have 30 minutes to practice.

How would you get the most out of it?

How do you take 100% of your efforts home?

With 30 minutes you can easily take a big excerpt of music and work many things. Hopefully you picked a hard passage. Pick some technical as well as some musical problems.

30 Minutes

5 minutes| tuning each note. Slowly watching your fingers from note to note

5 minutes| figuring how you would phrase that passage

5 minutes| actually playing the phrase with dynamics, etc.

5 minutes| repeating hard fingerings, bowings,etc. Cleaning everything up.

10 minutes| using the metronome and trying to get it up to tempo.

30 minutes will change the life of those measures forever. You were completely focus on those measures and actually worked things separately. You can even combine tasks by working on technical and musical problems at the same time.

I can personally focus for only 40-50 minutes at a time. After that, I am not really100% concentrated. I get distracted and start playing things without thinking much.

Many experts on the subject talk about 50 minutes practice and 10 resting (1 hour of work).

My Schedule

40 minutes – Warming up, technique, etudes, scales

10 minutes- Break

50 minutes- Concerto

30 minutes- Break

40 minutes- Mozart concerto

10 minutes- Break

50 minutes- Orchestral music

Total = 3hour practice with 50 minutes resting.

If I do it twice a day I will have practiced 6 hours and rested 1 hour and 40 minutes.

To practice 6 hours (the healthy way) I will need at least 8 hours available.

By doing the above, I give my body and muscles the essential time to rest. My mind will also pay me later by retaining more information.

Productivity =  wanting to reach a certain level under a certain amount of time. (Read Increase Your Productivity by Shortening Your Day )

It’s been proven that when you work with a deadline, you do so more efficiently. You accomplish more in less time.

Finally, I would like you to read how this guy is productive.

Happy practicing!

Carol

 

October 2, 2012     0 Comments   , , , , , , , , ,

5 Reasons Why You Should Like Classical Music

It Helps Your Brain Activities

When you listen to classical music, you can fine tune your brain to:

  • Improve memory
  • Control pain
  • Enhance creativity
  • Increase motivation

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

In a hospital study, researchers found that heart patients received the same anti-anxiety benefits from listening to 30 minutes of classical music as they did from taking the drug Valium.

Has a Positive Effect on Your Linguistic Abilities

Researchers had found that those who listened to Vivaldi while exercising had increased scores on verbal fluency tests after their workouts compared to those who exercised without music.

It Will Make You Smarter

Listening to Mozart (especially the piano concertos) may temporarily increase one’s IQ and produce many other beneficial effects on mental function.

It is the most complex of all the music genres

Classical music can be explained by professional musicians who analyze the structure, harmony, form and orchestration of a piece. It takes a considerable amount of knowledge and technique to work in depth the structure of classical music and perform it with great level of understanding.This is why classical musicians are more likely to play any other music genre very easily.

 

Carol

April 15, 2010     0 Comments   , , , ,

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