7 day 10 min Practice Challenge!

by adminKFS on · 12 comments

For many of us, finding the time to practice is challenging. Even for me, finding time for practice often takes a back seat to the business aspect of music and the many things we have to take care of in everyday life. Finding practice time is challenging in part because we think we need a lot of time – 30 mins or more. However, it may seem more manageable if we think about aiming for 10 mins a day. A smaller chunk of practice time done consistently tends to be better than 30 mins or more once or twice a week. Consistency is the key to improvement.

Therefore, I am issuing a 7 day 10 minute practice challenge! I got this fabulous idea from the wonderful Michelle Stewart. Michelle, who is also from my home town of Sydney Mines, is an incredible bodhran player and teacher who has an extremely successful online teaching site: bodhranexpert.com. Michelle is also learning the fiddle and last September on her blog she issued the 10 Minute a Day Practice Challenge.

I am going also going to take this challenge- who is taking it with me?! If we can do it for 7 days then we can do it everyday! I will also be announcing this on my Facebook fan page and will keep you posted on my progress. I hope you will do the same!

Some ideas for making the most of your practice time:

Leave your instrument out of the case– Keeping your instrument handy and ready to use provides a lot more incentive to practice than having to dig it out of the case.

Listening and observing is also practice– If you don’t have time to physically pick up the instrument, get some listening time in while driving, doing the dishes, etc. Or if you are working on the computer, take a 5 minute break to watch your favorite player on youtube. Make note of a new tune you want to learn or take good notice of their technique- bow hand, fingering hand, etc.

Visualize the tune you are learning– Again, if you don’t have time to pick up the instrument, take 5 minutes when you catch a short break to visualize playing through a tune or just part of a tune that you are working on. Picture every fingered note and bow stroke, slur, etc. If the mind can do it, the body will be sure to follow soon enough

Make a clear, focused plan- Instead of just playing through a tune, take the 10 minutes and pick a phrase that is particularly troublesome and loop it. If you play piano or some other accompaniment instrument, pick a chord pattern that is difficult and loop that. You may choose to work on issues in bowing, coordination, intonation, etc. For example, if a 16th note passage is giving you trouble in a tune, try spending the 10 mins doing an exercise like I’ve outline in this video:

Please join me in this challenge and let me know of your progress! Who is with me?!


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April 1, 2012 at 6:45 pm, Kira McLaughlin said...

Thanks Kimberley…you are an inspiration. Time has been a great challenge for me and at times I feel so frustrated at not finding enough to practice I just want to give up! Though listening to a tune over and over and humming to myself while I am cooking supper or doing the dishes has helped…just wish I had other musicians to practice with!

    April 1, 2012 at 7:24 pm, Kimberley SessionsAdmin said...

    Yes, finding live musicians to play with is great practice but recordings are the next best thing! Please let me know how you do!

April 1, 2012 at 7:18 pm, Sonny Joiner said...

Kimberley, I don’t play fiddle, but have been playing at cello…practice is always a problem…I’m with you…should be able to find 10 minutes a day. Thank you for issuing the challenge!

    April 1, 2012 at 7:30 pm, Kimberley SessionsAdmin said...

    Thanks Sonny, Please let me know how it goes!

April 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm, Susan Gesner said...

The joys of living alone means that it should be easier to find the time to pick up the fiddle. But the demands of everything seem to get in the way! I think we have to “make” the 10 minutes instead of “find” the 10 minutes. But I’m up to the challenge! And I’ve learned the Bonnie Lass of Head Lake simply by doing what Kira above suggested…cooking, listening to the Kimberley play the tune and humming it over and over. I’m sure I’ll sound as good after I have another 20 years under my belt!

    April 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm, Kimberley SessionsAdmin said...

    Hey Susan! *Make*- such a better choice of word! Glad you are on board. Keep us posted!

April 1, 2012 at 9:13 pm, Don Fletcher said...

Hey Kimberly; The 10 minute challenge is a great idea! I am taking that challenge starting tomorrow. I can still you & Denis Lanctot playing the beautiful air “Aberdeen” at our fiddle club here i Ottawa. It was a fantastic night & I thank you so much for that. Hope to see you back this way sometime soon.

Your fan; Don Fletcher

    April 2, 2012 at 11:56 am, Kimberley SessionsAdmin said...

    Thanks for this, Don. Hope to come your way soon! Please keep us posted on your challenge!

April 3, 2012 at 8:42 am, Randy said...

Good idea – the 10 minute challenge. I focused on playing along with your mp3’s – Hamish the Carpenter (reel) and I Won’t do the Work (jig). Trying to do this by ear, which is good practice.
Also I started your Spey In Spate. Thanks – Randy

April 4, 2012 at 10:09 pm, Bink Williams said...

Hi, Kimberley; Thanks for the great idea; I’m on day four and working on Jefferson/Liberty that Lissa plays on her CD “Dance” and one from David Kaynor, “Walk old shoe, heel come adraggin” Still trying to learn more by ear and the weekly lessons have helped a great deal. Hope to see you this summer. Bink in Sopchoppy.

April 11, 2012 at 7:05 pm, Blaine said...

Great advice! Time is always precious. I try to listen to the music I want to play when I can’t practice. I believe that you have immerse yourself in the music as much as possible to be able to play it.
I leave my instruments all over the place, so when I have a spare moment I’ll pick up and play. I’ve heard said that leaving your instrument out of the case lets the vibrations in the air move through it. (It may drive your spouse crazy though!)

April 12, 2012 at 11:29 am, Gun said...

Hi Kimberley,
The 7 days have lasted but I’m in for it. I start now. Going to focus on vibrato for 7 days 10 min and see what has happend after à week. A great idea, and after 7 days there will be 7 new days whith à new thing to work at.

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