Violin Tip of the Day
For April 22
For Violin Students of All Ages
Practice and Rehearsal Tips.  Technique Pointers.  Violin Care Guidance. Exercises and Motivation for Violinists, Fiddlers or Anyone Interested in Stringed Instruments.
Today's Tip
Breaking Through Walls During Music Practice
There have been many times where I practiced, and practiced, and then practiced some more, but I just didn't seem to make any progress. I've reached a plateau. I'm experiencing frustration. I've hit a wall, and I need to find a way to break through!

What do you do when that happens?

My solution involves a few steps.

1.  If the problem is just occuring during this practice session, I take a short break.  I actually put the instrument down and go find something else to do for five minutes.  Notice that I did not say I put the instrument away, I return to the practice after my little break and resume -- refreshed at having thought about something else.

2.  If I have reached some sort of plateau where the lack of progress is lasting many practice sessions it is time to:
    a.  Get someone else involved.  Go to your teacher, or a fiddle friend and get their advice.  Have them watch what you are doing, maybe they will see the problem.  Find out how they are able to accomplish that particular skill or play that particular passage.  Maybe you are having a fingering problem.  Maybe the passage just needs a little more time.  Sometimes just the fact that you are working on the problem WITH SOMEONE ELSE is enough to get you over the hump.
    b.  Go back to basic skills.  Scales and arpeggios.  SLOW DOWN and play the passage absolutely perfect note for note NO MATTER HOW SLOW YOU HAVE TO GO TO DO IT.


Realize that learning to play the violin is a journey.  It doesn't matter how long you have been playing, there is still always another skill to learn, another passage to master and more skills to maintain.  That's half the fun!

And remember that the verb we use is that we PLAY the violin, not WORK the violin.  So have fun while you are going through this!
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