Practice Tip of the Week:
Try a Very Long Practice Session

While you can accomplish a great deal in a short amount of practice time,
there ARE advantages to long practice sessions.

Aside from the obvious fact that you can cover more material in three
hours than in fifteen minutes, there is a more intriguing reason to
experience a long practice session:

There seems to be a mental change that occurs after playing your instrument
for about two hours. A kind of clarity, expressiveness, and creativity
can well up—seemingly out of nowhere.

Some musicians describe this state as being “in the zone,” the same way
athletes describe peak experiences. While in this zone you play in a
heightened state of awareness and see new possibilities.

Insights about your technique and phrasing occur. You may notice connections
between various items you’re practicing. You pay attention to your muscles
in a special way. Fantastic ideas for a new composition, a solo, or a cadenza
instantly and mysteriously enter your mind.

Whatever the reason for these experiences, they are definitely worth having
and seldom occur during short practice sessions.

Playing for long periods of time every day may not be possible for you, but
you should give yourself this experience every now and then.

And, if playing your instrument for three hours at a time seems too daunting,
you can build up to it. For instance, if you’re currently putting in twenty
minutes a day, shoot for thirty. If you’re practicing one hour per day, try
an hour and a half.

To make big strides in your playing, you’ll need quality and quantity in your
practicing. Long practice sessions give you both.

To Your Musical Success!