Now that we're moving into the holiday season, it is a great time to re-evaluate and revamp our practice routines! Let's take a look at this breakdown of a practice plan, so that you can reach your goals in a timely and efficient manner. Oh, and I used courses of a meal to help demonstrate each of these important parts of a practice routine. Hopefully this helps with your visualization of each of these elements!
Soup - This is our first "course" of our practice routine. This is essential warm-up time, and is a great opportunity to pull out any scales and arpeggios that you have been working on. Use this time to get your muscles and brain warmed up and ready to go for the remainder of your practice session.
Appetizer - This is where we want to move onto any exercises that we've been working on lately. This is the time to focus on any technique you are trying to improve. Perhaps it's a particular bow stroke, shifting, vibrato, intonation - whatever the case may be, this is the time to pull out your etudes and exercise books. If you are a fiddle player, this would be the time to practice things like double stops, chord and key comfortability, etc.
Entree - The main event! This is where we want to work on the "meatiest" portion of our current repertoire. If there is a newer piece or tune you have been working on and perhaps struggling with, this is the time to conquer it. Drills, polishing, and mastering are all part of this portion of the practice session.
Dessert - This is where I like to throw in something fun. it's always nice to end a practice session on a positive note, so this is the time to pull out anything that you truly enjoy and have fun playing. If there's not one tune or piece that comes to mind, then I'd recommend taking this time to review some old repertoire that perhaps you haven't touched in awhile, and get your fingers back in the game. This is also a good time to sightread any light, easy pieces/songs that you enjoy. Take this time to have your dessert, whatever that means for you!
I hope this little practice guide was helpful in finding your stride when it comes to learning and reaching your violin goals. If you'd like to watch my recent video where I covered this topic, you can check it out here. Best of luck to you!