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"You bring all your practice on stage with you to perform, not just the good practice. So make all your practice really good."

--Jacqueline Leclair


Often, the most difficult thing about practicing is finding the motivation to pick up your instrument and go to work. So, understanding what motivates you can help you achieve your musical goals --and help me, as your teacher, understand how best to help you! 

Dr. Stephanie Hoeckley (flute) has created a practice motivation quiz based on Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies quiz. You can find the quiz here



When you practice, what do you work on? And how do you work on it?

Performance psychologist Dr. Noa Kageyama promotes balanced practice, which focuses not only on the mechanical aspects of learning a piece on your instrument, but also on the conceptual (how do you hear the music in your mind?) and performance aspects (what does it feel like to perform a piece?).

It’s very easy to allow our practice sessions to become overly focused on mechanics such as learning how to play the notes accurately. But thankfully, music is made of much more than just notes. Conceptual practice can help us to focus on the bigger picture.

Have you ever noticed that it’s SO much easier to learn a piece of music that you have already heard several times before, one that you can recognize immediately when you hear it? This is because you have experienced the music enough that you already have an internal concept of it. When this is the case, you can not only catch yourself playing wrong notes or rhythms more easily, but you are also more likely to play the piece musically--with appropriate style, phrase shape, etc.--because you already have an internal auditory model of the music.

But of course we don’t always have the luxury of being familiar with every piece of music we are ever asked to play. One of the most exciting parts of being a musician is learning music that you have never heard before. Making a habit of including conceptual practice in your routine can make your overall practice time more efficient and effective in every circumstance. Follow the link below to learn about some specific ways in which you can incorporate conceptual practice into your routine.

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