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Violin Practice Advice from a Shrink + Free Class

Psychologist and Buddhist teacher Tara Brach has me nailed.

Perhaps you too?

Tara talks about the “over controller” in all of us.

It’s that misguided part of our inner being that works overtime to help keep us safe, but in the end puts us in more peril.

For me its the feeling of being driven. It’s an endless quest to fix some part of me that’s “not OK.”

When it happens, I’m never exactly sure what’s broken; it’s a stressful, dull feeling that’s hard to shake.

The over-controller is endemic in aspiring musicians. It’s a deadly virus that can kill your violin practice!

I once thought that a healthy dose of perfectionism was actually good for my practice. What a myth!

When you practice under the spell of the over controller, you’re working in a tunnel vision universe. Creativity and resourcefulness (what you need most) are nowhere to be found.

So your practice becomes dull and lifeless.

Your best practice happens when (and only when) you bring your best self to your violin.

That’s why I write and teach. It’s our lifelong journey as aspiring musicians and fulfilled human beings.

Free Class: Live Online Violin Instruction by Bill Alpert

Your best self and your best practice is the core topic of my June 24 live, online session of Power Up Your Violin Practice. It’s a free class; to sign up just click here.

Last, but not least: Are you ready for some honest, yet supportive feedback on your practicing habits? I’m seeking a few more readers who’d like to send in a video and be featured as part of my upcoming online sessions.

If you’d like to send a video, drop me a quick note ( and I’ll send you the simple instructions. I promise it will be fun and easy to participate, and you’ll be glad you did!

May your violin practice be joyful and liberating!

—Bill Alpert

P.S. My next online live class is Saturday, June 24, at 10:30 a.m. PDT (Los Angeles).
Register here! (complimentary registration for my readers). See you at the class!

Live Online Violin Class: The Best Mindset for Beginning to Intermediate Students

I’ve written a lot about the (all too common) destructive beginner violin habits that can easily stop you in your tracks.

But there’s a bright side to the story: you don’t have to become another victim of these rookie playing errors.

There are several “big picture” strategies that can steer you clear of these problems.

On April 22, 2017 I’m laying out these strategies into a playing “mindset” that is simple to understand and accessible to all levels of violinists.

The Class: It’s Saturday April, 22, 10:30 a.m. Pacific and it’s Free

Please note: If you’re already signed up for a 4/15 class, look for an email update: This class was originally scheduled for 4/15 but performance commitments require that I move it back a week.

Class Description:

This one hour session for new to intermediate violinists will provide you with tools to evaluate your current playing as well as a high level mindset about how to avoid common counterproductive practice habits. We will:

  • spot (and fix) tension problems that might be holding you back
  • demonstrate a great warm-up routine to eliminate tension and promote positive playing habits
  • give you a useful roadmap for all your future practice

The class is free for all levels of violinists, though it will be geared toward violinists from 0-3 years of experience. Nothing will be promoted or sold during the session.

There will be a Q&A period at the end of the class, and I’ll invite a few readers to submit videos of their own playing for discussion. Full instructions will be sent in advance to everyone who signs up.

So, sign up now; it’s free! If you have questions, drop me a note:

>>Click here to register for my free April 22 class

See you in the class!

— Bill Alpert

p.s. You’ll obviously need a computer or smartphone with internet access to participate in this live class.

p.p.s. Optional: If you’d like to appear in front of the group, you’ll also need a webcam.