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  1. #1

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    I practice pretty regularly, usually an hour a day, plus or minus, but I end up taking maybe one day a week off. Recently with holiday time off, I increased my practice time quite a bit and haven't missed a day. But, between dry weather, hand sanitizing, my poor wittle fingers were getting tender. Today I took a break (though I played my trumpet for variety!).

    How often do you take time off, and for how long? When do you say when?

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  3. #2

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    For a few years, never (and that was 2 hours plus a day, often a lot more) but now that I'm older and busier (plus diminishing returns on my practice time!) I miss practice days all the time. Too often. I don't recommend it. The real problem is when 1 day turns into 1 missed day and 1 so-so day, then maybe into 1 missed day, 2 so-so days, 1 missed day...then you've lost momentum on whatever you were working on. Momentum is important when it comes to practicing.

  4. #3

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    Hi, J,
    This is one of the first important lessons from a competent teacher. It's not about total time--it's about practice time. Most people don't have a set schedule but rather "toy around/dawdle" and believe they are practicing. You must set goals before you pick up the instrument: scales, chords, progressions, hand-building exercises, working on a piece, etc. Don't get distracted. Stay focused. Set an alarm after you've finished tuning for 1 hour. Stop at the end of the hour unless you've really discovered something interesting and then write it down. With 2 individual hours/sessions a day you'll make good progress if you stay focused.
    It is my belief that most people do not practice 2/3 hours a day, they play 2/3 hours a day. There's a difference. I hope this helps, J.
    Play live . . . Marinero

    P.S. So, with the above in mind, I try to play every day. Continuity is important. However, if I have hand issues or feel like I'm in burnout, I take the time needed to repair/rest. The longest I ever rested was 2 weeks when I was playing saxophone. Among practice, lessons, and jobbing I hit a burnout and dropped practice and lessons and just played my gigs. On guitar, I had to rest a few weeks since I hurt my left hand playing 4 hours daily for over a month practicing for a concert. I nearly cancelled at the last minute but decided to go for it and remarkably, I made it through the concert with only a couple nerve tweaks near the end. I believe it was caused by overplay and a some nagging improper technique issues. M
    Last edited by Marinero; 01-19-2021 at 09:10 AM.

  5. #4

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    Well, now that I'm an aspiring multi-instrumentalist, 2 hours per day, but:
    Sunday - Banjo and Bass
    Monday - Chromatic Harmonica
    Tuesday & Wednesday - Ukulele
    Thursday, Friday, & Saturday - Guitar

  6. #5

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    I practice away from the guitar in my head a lot, I hope that counts a little.

  7. #6

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    When I practice for days, I get in better shape but the inspiration dwindles.
    When having a some days off, I enjoy playing again very much but am a bit out of shape also.

    Anyway!
    Why people think 1 hour or 2 hours is the amount we're supposed to practice for? If it's a profession, then heck. It should be 8 hours a day like normal people.. or 12 if wanting to be a boss.
    Of course.. that would be lunacy
    Last edited by emanresu; 01-20-2021 at 06:55 AM.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Karol
    Well, now that I'm an aspiring multi-instrumentalist, 2 hours per day, but:
    Sunday - Banjo and Bass
    Monday - Chromatic Harmonica
    Tuesday & Wednesday - Ukulele
    Thursday, Friday, & Saturday - Guitar
    that's a lot of instruments. Don't you find it's hard to keep up, let alone get better, if you only play one once or twice a week?

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, J,
    This is one of the first important lessons from a competent teacher. It's not about total time--it's about practice time. Most people don't have a set schedule but rather "toy around/dawdle" and believe they are practicing. You must set goals before you pick up the instrument: scales, chords, progressions, hand-building exercises, working on a piece, etc. Don't get distracted. Stay focused. Set an alarm after you've finished tuning for 1 hour. Stop at the end of the hour unless you've really discovered something interesting and then write it down. With 2 individual hours/sessions a day you'll make good progress if you stay focused.
    It is my belief that most people do not practice 2/3 hours a day, they play 2/3 hours a day. There's a difference. I hope this helps, J.
    Play live . . . Marinero

    P.S. So, with the above in mind, I try to play every day. Continuity is important. However, if I have hand issues or feel like I'm in burnout, I take the time needed to repair/rest. The longest I ever rested was 2 weeks when I was playing saxophone. Among practice, lessons, and jobbing I hit a burnout and dropped practice and lessons and just played my gigs. On guitar, I had to rest a few weeks since I hurt my left hand playing 4 hours daily for over a month practicing for a concert. I nearly cancelled at the last minute but decided to go for it and remarkably, I made it through the concert with only a couple nerve tweaks near the end. I believe it was caused by overplay and a some nagging improper technique issues. M
    Though the first part of your comment comes across as a lecture about how to practice (and misses the point of my question), you may be right that many casual players play more for fun, rather than programming their sessions to increase skills, prepare repertoire, etc.

    The second part is more relevant, and I agree the harder you work, the more likely you need to take a break, especially if you overdo it.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by JGinNJ
    that's a lot of instruments. Don't you find it's hard to keep up, let alone get better, if you only play one once or twice a week?
    Well, I'm only trying to be decent at banjo and bass, and I'm getting the hang of the chromatic harp at a leisurely pace. (It's really a hedge against, at age 72, the dreaded possible eventual onset of arthritis.) So, I concentrate on guitar, and to a lesser extent, uke (to which I find I've become somewhat addicted). So, yes there's a downside to the diversification, but in some ways, it also makes me better at all of them. I'm still interested in learning and growing musically and guitar is still my main instrument, but technique-wise at 72, I not really trying to get better - just not worse!

  11. #10

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    Ive always tried for 2-3 hours, closely planned as Marinero suggests. Its a discipline i picked up as an undergraduate classical organ student so i guess it’s ingrained. Yet i also plan a day or two a week where its more gig practice. Dropping the exercises, new stuff im working out and just play. You need to plan in your enjoyment!

    But, back then, and now on guitar i often find that giving myself a day or two off lets me come back with a clearer vision on something problematic im trying to work out. Theres a difference between serious study and compulsive study, and it can be very easy to slip into the compulsive working towards goals (scales, modes, speed, exercises). I personally find that counterproductive, that headling charge.
    So yes, take a day or two off especially if youve been working hard.

    Artur Rubenstein the great pianist said:
    ”if i miss practice one day I know it, two days my wife knows it, and after three the world knows it.”
    Luckily i am NOT Artur!)))

    (If youve never listened to his Chopin piano nocturnes you must! Most incredible interpretation examples ever, such intense emotion)