I divide practice into two large categories, technique and repertoire. Within these two categories are many subcategories.
Technique Goals: physical strength, speed, accuracy, AND mental strength speed and accuracy. With the physical goals, we are running our bodies through the paces so we are consistent in our playing. With the mental goals, we are conditioning our musical perception of music in terms of pitch, rhythm, and harmonic understanding.
Repertoire Goals: I try to balance between orchestral, solo, and Bach. Lately, I’ve been having to make room for bass quartet music. Years ago I used to reserve time to learn jazz tunes, its physical techniques, and scales.
Read the rest of John’s post here.
This is basically how I tell my own students to organize their practice time, and it is how I approach my own practicing as well. It is very easy to neglect the fundamentals when life gets busy, focusing only on the immediate needs of the repertoire of the moment. But making sure that a certain amount of daily practice is focused on long tones, bow strokes, scales and arpeggios, and correct physical alignment with the instrument ensures steady and well-grounded improvement in one’s instrumental technique and constantly stretches one’s own musical capacities.
- Jeff Turner discusses technique (Pittsburgh Symphony)
- Ira Gold discusses technique (National Symphony)
- Michael Hovnanian discusses technique (Chicago Symphony)
- Lawrence Hurst discusses technique (Indiana University)
- Andy Anderson discusses technique (Lyric Opera of Chicago)