Practice, Practice, Practice!
Practice! We spend so much time doing it, but how can we be sure we’re optimizing our practice time to further our skills, nail the audition or land that gig? The following is a collection of thoughts on practicing from some of the many experts represented on Artists House Music including Nicolas Wright from the London Symphony Orchestra, Matt Marvuglio and Larry Baione from Berklee College of Music, and Ellen Fronmayer from Loyola University.
Nicolas Wright, a first violinist with the London Symphony, shares his thoughts on how much practice is enough, and how musicians should structure their practice time to get the most out of it without creating physical or mental exhaustion.
In his article entitled, “On Practicing”, Berklee College of Music's Dean of the Professional Performance Division, Matt Marvuglio says we practice for two reasons, 1. Performance: a specific engagement, audition, or a recording session; 2. Mastery: to keep improving on your instrument because you love playing it and you want to learn the literature and master it. Marvuglio goes on to explain that sometimes the two meet and practicing satisfies both reasons.
“On Practicing” also defines three levels of thinking that is going on when we play music or practice: automatic, veiled, and controlled. The purpose of practicing is to process musical information into those three categories of thinking. This article, complete with sample practice routine charts, will help you to approach your practicing in a more thoughtful and practical way.
In the following clip, after a wonderful jam session with Matt Marvuglio, Larry Baione, Chair of the Guitar Department at Berklee College of Music shares his own personal practice tips, which are designed to increase a guitarist’s versatility, ‘hand intelligence’ and dedication to improving their technique.
Ellen Frohnmayer, Assistant Professor of Voice at Loyola University New Orleans, talks about her experiences teaching students how to practice.
For more Artists House Music resources on practicing, search with the keyword “practicing” on the site. You’ll find clips from jazz piano great, Kenny Werner, NYU professor Brian Lynch, and many others.
Now, go practice! ; )