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  • Writer's pictureJames Danderfer

The Tight 5... no, really... 5 minutes of Practice.

Hello, good evening, and welcome to the Saturday (Morning) News Post!

In case you missed my "Monday Midday" Instagram chat with Victor Noriega last week, we have embarked on a Practice Challenge. The challenge is to practice 50 days for 5 minutes a day.

When Victor first told me about the challenge, I was absolutely in because I find having an accountability partner to be an easy and effective way to make sure you do something (in this case, practice. We text each other the number 5 as soon as we've done it). But then he told me it was just 5 MINUTES a day, and I said "Just 5 minutes?!" and he said... "Yeah, I think that'll be good."

So in my head I thinking "Cool. I'll just start off with 5 minutes as an easy commitment, and then I'll keep practicing to finish off my "Tight 20" at least." But on day #1 of the challenge, I left myself only 5 minutes to practice, so I did 5 minutes and then ran out the door.

And you know what? It was a very different and quite beneficial practice session! Instead of my usual 20 minute routine (5 minutes tone exercises, 5 minutes technique/tone exercises, 5 minutes of vocab, and 5 minutes of repertoire), I had to layer it all together in one 5 minute session. And... I kinda did!

Turns out I can work on sound and technique through the vocabulary material I'm working on, and I can practice the vocab in the context of a piece of standard repertoire. Which... of course I can! I just hadn't really thought to.

Will 5 minutes a day take me to a "Carnegie Hall" level of playing? Perhaps not, but I had fun doing it, and I quickly reconnected with music in an engaging way, and 5 minutes of that is WAY BETTER than zero minutes. It may even be more effective than a somewhat disengaged 30 minutes of practicing.

So there are two lessons here for me: #1. Work to practice fundamentals through the material you're trying to learn, as opposed to isolating the fundamentals. #2. Don't be afraid to shake things up with your practicing; 5 minutes can be cool sometimes. 5 hours can be cool at other times. You get a different thing out of those two approaches, both valid, and mixing it up will also 'shock' your brain out of a disengaged, 'wrote' style, practice pattern.

Okay, that's it for now! If you want to try this out for a week (or the whole 50 days), then let me how it's going in the comments section.

Thanks for reading and have a terrific week! JD

(painting of sprinter Dina Asher-Smith by David Roman)

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Ball. Dropped. And info on next VJO show.

Hello, and welcome to the Saturday (Morning) News Post! I know. I know. You've been without the SMNP for 3 weeks now. Tough stuff. I get it. There are probably upwards of two very disappointed readers


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