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Practice Suggestions

Discussion in 'Ask Patrick Neher [Archive]' started by Cosmos, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. Cosmos


    Sep 21, 2006
    New York, NY
    Dear Mr. Neher,

    How are you doing?

    I'm a university student double majoring in music history/theory and physics (astrophysics, it looks like these days). I'm also a serious bass player studying with a great bass teacher at another university (my school doesn't have a performance program).

    Because I'm at a tough university, I don't have a lot of practice time. I can usually get in around 2 hours a day, but that's not as much as students at conservatories get. Still, I really want to be able to keep up with conservatory students. I want to keep on getting better at bass, and be able to take part in the top summer music festivals.

    The trouble I'm running into, is that I'm not really sure how to maximize the productivity of my small amount of practice time so that I can get done a lot in a small amount of time so that I can be a competitive bassist and not sacrifice the quality of my schoolwork.

    Do you have any suggestions regarding how to make the most of a small amount of practice time?

    Thank you very much for your time!
  2. PNeher


    Mar 31, 2005
    Bellingham, WA
    I have a routine for practice that involves: "Warm-up," where one does NOT play slow scales but uses arms and fingers in moving ways to actually warm-up. The muscles must be ready to do supple, quick, small, large movements. This usually moves to a transitional exercise or imporvisation that connects me with the bass and focusing on music or technique. Next is either technical study or concert reperory study. Then the other. Then imporivsation as a cool down. This method allows me to concentrate intensely for two - 2.5 hours. I usually go no more in any one session. The MAIN THING here is that you concentrate, make astute analysis of problems, coming up with logical ansers for solving problems, keep your focus on the goal, and realizing when you have succeeded at completing your goal. Without actually observing your practice (which I do with my students), I cannot make suggestions on where or whether you need attention. Organization is another key factor (no pun intended) without getting bored. If you just run through stuff without assessing the value and quality of what you're doing, you are wasting time ( I am not saying that YOU do this). Observe EVERYTHING and EVERY person you admire playing. Acquire.
    Hope this helps.. you have asked a question about a huge issue with many directions for answers.
  3. Cosmos


    Sep 21, 2006
    New York, NY
    Dear Mr. Neher,

    Thank you very much for your helpful suggestions! I will try to incorporate them into my practicing right away.

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