You've heard of those amazing violinists, pianists and other instrumentalists who practiced six hours a day to achieve dazzling technique and prowess on the instrument.
Whoa, six hours a day!?
It seems a bit much, a bit unsustainable. And many who practice this much as a young person report that they do not go on to continue this amount of practice for a lifetime.
I've also heard a good number of respected teachers advise that three hours is a bit more reasonable for the very-serious musician. After that, you need a mental and physical break. It's still a lot of time and devotion.
I've also heard people say, forget the amount of time anyone practices, it's the quality of the time spent. If you spend hours just spinning your wheels and not really concentrating on problem-solving, then what is the use?
I mostly agree that quality is the most important thing in practicing. I have seen music students spend a great deal of time practicing but not actually moving forward, because they avoid the difficult work of repeating difficult passages, solving problems, working on technique, etc.
But, it's all-too-easy to de-prioritize quantity. That commitment to devote time to the instrument on a very consistent basis is extremely important, and I'd put that commitment in the category of "quantity," because it's simply about carving out a set amount of time, whatever happens during that time. For example, Hilary Hahn's 100 Days of Practice project was a commitment to time. And if you don't put in the time, you don't get to the quality and you don't progress, period.
So this vote aims to foster a conversation about quality and quantity, and even though I recognize both are important, I'm not listing "both" as an option. For the vote, please pick the one that feels most important to you at this stage in your playing (or in your teaching). For example, if you have not been able to devote enough time to practice, "quantity" might be the current priority. Or if you have found yourself spacily running through old, familiar things and not challenging yourself, maybe "quality" is something you feel you need to focus on more. Or, maybe you are seeing trends in students that make you lean toward one or the other at the moment. Please participate in the vote, and then tell us your thoughts and experiences about quantity vs. quality.
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