How Should We Practice Our Instrument?

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The weather is beautiful, you want to go out and spend time with your friends, go for a walk, go to the movies, but there is an exam you have to take in a week…

Of course I won't tell you what to do. You will find the right path in the picture I will draw.

Based on my own experiences, I can guarantee you a successful student life with a disciplined, not left to the last minute, correctly planned study system, as well as a process where you will not be disconnected from social life. First of all, you need to create a healthy working environment and discover your productive hours. Do not think that this discovery is a luxury. The first condition for introducing the concept of productive work into your life is to determine the times and places where you can keep your concentration at the highest level. The quality process you will spend at the beginning of your instrument will definitely reflect on your playing, your perception, and your practice of the details that need to be worked on. With this motivation, your concentration period will be prolonged, your enthusiasm for work and your belief in what you will do will increase as you see what you can do. Thus, you will begin to move away from associating the concept of quality work with certain hours of the day. Here is freedom…

If you are aware, I have never mentioned the time you have to spend at the instrument. I am not a person who believes that such a process should be calculated. Because we will all have differences in practice as musicians. While Person A makes an effort to solve and master a passage in one go, Person B may realize that he has mastered the point where he says “ok, now I have learned”, by spending a lot of time deciphering the same passage. While this process takes 15 minutes for person A, it can take 3 hours for person B. So we are the standard of our work. The ease or difficulties of each of us at the instrument make our working process unpredictable. Therefore, it makes it impossible for us to describe this process.

How about a few ideas that can make your working hours lively and refreshing? I usually work by starting from different sentences, passages or sections each time while working on works. I go over the parts that I have difficulty with and that I think need more work, at the beginning of my studies, when I am still young. After technically challenging passages, I take more comfortable sections to rest both my mind and my muscles, but most importantly, I work by taking a break. Although it is not noticed at a very young age, the damage done to our body by long-term, breathless work begins to emerge over time. For example, if you work for 45 minutes, rest for 15 minutes. I can imagine that you thought, "45 minutes is too short, you can't rest before 2 hours", but when your body starts to alarm and you realize how important it is to take a break and work, it may be too late for some feedback. Unfortunately, I lost a lot when I realized it.

“I worked 6 hours today. I repeated the missing passage 20 times. I memorized the fugue in a day.”

Achieving success requires persistence and patience. I strongly recommend that you work regularly every day and reflect the concept of quality time that I mentioned in the first paragraph to your working hours. Otherwise, I would like to regret that you will not be able to achieve the results you want, even if you work regularly for 5-6 hours every day. For example, I witness that my students who come to the class sometimes do not pay attention to the details we talk about on the works and have difficulties in applying them. “Couldn't you work?” When I ask him, the answer I get can be “on the contrary, I worked very long hours”. In this case, I am sadly observing that the work that was not done with thought and attention to detail was wasted. Let's go to our second example. Technical and rhythmic studies on a passage that you cannot play correctly or have difficulty, correct finger number determinations (our choices in finger numbers are vital in the piano), and 20 repetitions made without structural and harmonic analysis will not lead you to the right result. After all your detailed work, you can do a lot of repetitions, but it can be a method for you to memorize the passages you focus on. Unfortunately, it doesn't work on its own. Have you memorized a fugue in one day? I'm sorry but you'll forget. Because it requires a memorization process. Of course, everyone has different memorization methods, but in Bach's fugues with 3, 4 or even 5 voices, a daily note memorization will let you down without working separately and in combinations, without memorizing the lines, identifying the themes correctly, that is, without solving the math.

As you can see, we are faced with a game-changing block of time that we cannot separate with precise lines, which is completely dependent on the person himself, but where continuity, discipline, and a cleverly planned work order are of great importance. Don't try to stereotype yourself. Keep your work alive and changeable. Do not forget to rest. When you do all these, you will see that a student life awaits you, where you can live your childhood and youth and achieve success without breaking away from social life. Plan your time correctly. If you can establish this order in your student life, you will witness that it will be reflected in your social life. But don't forget that our job requires a lot of sacrifice. Sometimes we will give up our holidays, sometimes we will spend time with family or friends. When you can say, “I will spend 3 days instead of 10 months of summer vacation, I see my friend for half an hour instead of 3 hours, but I will spend this process in the most efficient way”, you will see that you have placed the concept of quality time not only in your work but also in every aspect of your social life.

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