Learning how to practice

After practicing my guitar this evening, my partner asked how I actually go about practicing. It was a good question – what is it I focus on? With the 30-day challenge cycle I’ve been picking two pieces I make sure to play and work on every day. “Working on” means learning from scratch (as in the Prelude from BWV 1006a) or re-learning some different fingerings (the Ponce prelude in E). But I also have to mix in some “fun” playing as well, with pieces that are more polished. These are like visiting with old friends for a chat.

I’m still contemplating acquiring a teacher, though. In the realm of “knowing what I don’t know,” I know there are holes in my performance that I could use some coaching on. Then there are the “unknown unknowns” – what might a teacher see that I haven’t even considered? The hard part right now is time – work has been in overdrive since the start of the year, and I’ve also had some demands at home that make it difficult to commit to a longer term project.

But I want to get better; I can feel myself starting to hit plateaus in terms of the artistry of performance. I’m getting better at some of the technical skills (my sight reading on the higher frets has improved tremendously with daily practice), but I feel like I could take a leap to a new level of expression with the right coaching.

It’s late, and I just wanted to get this idea and “intent to commit” down on e-paper.  In spite of time feeling like a precious commodity I miss my daily blogging from November and may return to that shortly, too.


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