Greetings! I know I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been busy with teaching, orchestras, accompanying, and oh yes, there’s life outside of music too!
In fact, I have had so much music to learn and play lately, that it’s become overwhelming at times. Sometimes I have so much to do that I don’t know where to start and end up wasting time and not getting much done.
When I discussed this with my teacher, she suggested the 5 minute rule. Set a timer and focus on the parts that need the work for only 5 minutes, then go to the next piece. Well, 5 minutes FLIES by, so I decided that I’d have the 10 minute rule. This is really a great idea. It forces you to focus. You can’t waste your time playing just the “easy parts” and you really work the hard parts.
As an example, I have this part in the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor:
It’s the 1/8 notes, of course, and while they aren’t difficult to play, take into consideration that it’s in 2 rather than 4, and 1/2 note=100. SO it’s quite quick! I use a variety of methods to increase my speed. (1) play 4 notes fast, count to 4, then play the next 4;
(2) play with different rhythms;
(3) Play 2 notes fast, then add 2 notes. Play the next 2 and add 2. Play all together and keep growing.
Believe me, 10 minutes of this intense work is plenty. If I can get this to 100, I’m happy! (I’m at 80 now, so we have a long way to go!)
Then I’m on to my next challenge- and since I only have 10 minutes, I have to get down to work fast. I use Alexa to set the timer and I plan what I need to work on before I start. I still take breaks after 30 minutes, but I find this to be more productive and I actually can measure some progress.
Would love to hear how you deal with time constraints! We all have them. Thanks!