First and foremost, make sure your overall set-up is working (i.e. good posture, bow hold, and left hand position).

Then remember these key tips:

1. Ask yourself, W.W.E.D? (that's, "What Would Eliza Do?)
  • Pretend you are the teacher
  • Start by identifying where you think the problem lies
  • Ask yourself "What Would Eliza Do" to fix this problem?
2. Use Eliza's "Rule of 3" for breakdown practicing: Need more help? Bring it to our next lesson!
  • Play it super, DUPER slow. Slow enough that every single thing happens perfectly
  • Do something to make it harder (play it in rhythms, try a new bowing: all downs at the frog, all ups at the tip, add accents, speed it up with the help of a metrenome, etc...)
  • Go back and play it as written
3. Break it up. Good practice doesn't have to happen all at once. In fact, I strongly recommend dividing up your practice into multiple time slots per day. If your practice schedule calls for two hours a day, practice for one hour, then go outside, take a walk, ride your bike, do something other than play music! When you come back, you will feel refreshed and ready to tackle the last hour of practice. Plus, breaking up practice time is a great way to test yourself. Can you still do what you accomplished during your last hour of practice?

4. Record yourself! Using a digital recording device during practice sessions may reveal some surprising things. If you are really brave, try a video-recording device! Always feel free to bring a recording device to our lessons as well. This may provide you with some more insight when you are at home.

5. Can't find the time? Being a musician means learning to manage your time very well! If you are having problems finding time, please come to me. I am an expert at finding time for practice! For example, do you have a favorite TV show? (don't worry, I won't tell you that you cannot watch it). Have your instrument at hand and ready to go when your favorite show comes on. Then, during commercials, put the TV on mute and practice! This will give you at least 5 min of solid practice time-do this for the entire show, you've just downed 10 minutes of practice! Plus, this is a really good way to test your concentration skills. Can you stay focused while the TV is playing? Even when it's on mute? It's not always about how long, but rather about HOW you practice!

6. Need some extra advice and encouragement? This blog post was written by Dr. Noa Kageyama, Professor at the Julliard School in New York City. His site offers many tips on successful practice and performance anxiety. This is a great read--click HERE

Above all...bring you questions or concerns to me! That is what I am here for!

Don't forget to log those practice hours! 

A young Joshua Bell performing the third movement of the Wieniawski violin concerto in F#minor