NEW HOMEPAGE LANDING PAGE Forums Practice Questions Best tip for every day practice

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    • #46268
      Mel Newton

      Let’s share the best tips you have to make playing happen every single day.

      I know once I’m in the habit it’s easy to to make time for at least 20 minutes of playing. But life can get in the way and busy. Sometimes I really do mean to play….and just plain forget. I know that it’s made a difference to set aside a chunk of time at the same time every day (after my preschooler goes to bed, but before it’s my bedtime), but while that helps it’s not THE best tip.

      Here’s my best tip.

      Buy a wall hanger and hang your fiddle on the wall in a place you can walk by and grab it. No more taking it out of the case and putting the shoulder rest on. Just pick it up and go. “just 5 minutes” easily turns into 20. Plus fiddles are pretty. Plus I think fiddles like the company of the vibration of life as they sit on the wall.

      Any one else have any tips they want to share that makes it a little more likely to play a little bit every day?

    • #46274
      Nick Wilkins

      Hi Mel

      I wish I could leave my violins out [yes, they are lovely things in themselves] but here in England where I live it’s generally cold, so my instruments stay zipped up when they aren’t in danger of being played.

      My top tip for everyday practice is this: choose pieces to learn that you really want to learn. If I hear a piece and think ‘That’s quite nice’, I forget it. If I hear it and I think ‘I must learn to play that!!!‘, then practice is no problem [even if it’s 1am].

      Top tip.

    • #46288
      Nick Wilkins

      Hi Mel.

      I’ve been thinking about this question on and off all day. I won’t go into great detail [because it’s part of my day job, and enough is more than enough] but the theory of motivation and learning is interesting here.

      To be really motivated, theory says we need to have some degree of autonomy over what we do [and none of us has to be here, so that one’s ticked off], we have to feel a sense of competence, or of competence developing [jaso’n is wonderful at that – I think actually the best teacher on the internet, and I’ve watched dozens], and of relatedness [ah, this lovely supportive Fiddlehed community].

      I think that’s why this is such a nice place to be, and why it’s never a chore to practice Old Joe Clark.

      Next-to-top tip – be in the right place, and tick off all three of those intrinsic motivation boxes.

    • #46289
      Nick Wilkins

      Hey, Mel. Last thought from me on this one. There’s another motivation theory I love, called expectancy-value theory.

      It says [very brief, cut-down version] that to be motivated, I need to expect that I’ll be able to achieve the outcome on offer, and [this is the critical bit] that I need to value that outcome for myself.

      That’s why, when some internet teacher tells me that after just ten lessons I’ll be able to play ‘Mary had a little lamb’, or that if I fit some contraption to my beautiful violin, I’ll be able to keep my bow straight — I’m out of there.

      No value in that for me.

      No value, no motivation.

      Now then, it’s 22:36 here and I’m off to practice Old Joe Clark.


    • #47073

      The more steps it takes to get the instrument in hand, the less likely I will casually pick it up to play. Sometimes casual playing is what happens between too-long stretches of serious playing.
      I like to pamper myself when I sit down to play. Either a cup of hot tea or a glass of wine at my side makes the time special. Even if I only take a couple sips and then forget all about it because I’m engrossed with playing, it helps me get started.

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