The Jam with Lauren Blog

Practical tips from Lauren about becoming a better fiddler.

How to get the most out of a really short practice

August 10, 2014

When you don’t have much time to practice, it’s important to use every moment efficiently. With a practice plan, you’ll start to hear your progress even when you can’t spend as much time with your fiddle as you’d like.

Here’s one possible way to break down of 30 minutes of practice:

5 minutes: warm up by playing your 2 favorite tunes with a jam track.

10 minutes: technique prep: work on your left hand and right hand goals that pertain to the new tune you’re going to learn.

Here’s an example:

  • Left Hand: you’re going to work/learn a tune in D major so, play your D major maps, scales, say your note names out loud, review your 1, 4, and 5 chords in the key.
  • Right Hand: you’re working your tone so you focus on keeping your bow parallel to the bridge on open strings and then add your D major scale to the mix so you can COMBINE both left and right hand goals.

12 minutes: learn your new tune: maybe it’s just one phrase, but learn it really well and play it every time it comes around the tune. You don’t have to learn an entire tune in one day!

3 minutes: play your favorite tune again. Whatever is easy, as a reward!

The next day warm up by playing one tune in two minutes instead of two tunes in five. Give those three remaining minutes to your new tune so you have time to review the phrase you learned yesterday and still have plenty of time to learn a new phrase.

Of course, you don’t want to skimp on longer practices, but a short practice is always better than nothing. Making a plan can help you get the most out of your time. You’ll make progress a little bit at a time, and you may discover new ideas and tunes you want to explore later. Good luck and happy fiddling!