Practical Violin Practicing the Violin

The Practice Clock is NOT Your Friend

Are you practicing on a timer? Playing 30 minutes a day, or 45 every other day? Or some other random number?

Take that clock off your wall. It shouldn’t be the master of your practice time.

How much time should you practice singing per day? Here’s a simple answer: Practice as long as it takes, no more, no less.

Why practice thirty minutes, when you can get the job done in ten? Why set random time goals into place, when they have little or no bearing on the results you need?

If you’re thinking about the clock, you’re not thinking about your playing. Period. End of story.

Clock practice is boring.

Go into a practice session knowing exactly what you want to get out of it. Goals like, “I want to improve,” or “I just want to get better” almost always work against you.

Your audience doesn’t care that you practiced 17 hours straight. Your teacher isn’t impressed by hours logged. But everyone notices when your playing grows. When you take your art to the next level.

If you’re not improving something every time you practice, take note. Something has gone wrong.

And before you start griping about how busy you are, let me remind you. Nobody cares. Everyone’s busy. It’s only what you get done that counts.

Practice for Real Results

Practice that’s focussed on improving something specific, now that’s real. That’s what counts. Nothing else matters. Even if you’ve improved the tone quality of a single note in a 90 minute concert set. You’ve put your practice into turbo mode, and you’ve become more effective at getting things done in less time.

Great practice always produces results.  Something  just got better.  And you can keep that something for life.

Bottom Line: take that clock off the wall, remove your wrist watch, power off your cell phone. Now you can enjoy the sheer pleasure of practice that isn’t endless. It’s practice with a result in mind.

Improve anything you choose, but always remember to choose what you want to improve!

By Bill Alpert

Bill Alpert is a performer, teacher and author with a unique focus on personal development and mindfulness viewed through the lens of violin study. Mr. Alpert's resume includes recordings, performances and film scores with artists such as The Moody Blues, Pepe Romero, Tina Turner and Johnny Mathis. The co-founder of the award winning Alpert Studio of Voice and Violin in California, he is professionally active in the American String Teachers Association and the Suzuki Association of America.