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Quality, Not Quantity

Yo Yo Ma

Cellist, Yo Yo Ma

“Mastering music is more than learning technical skills. Practicing is about quality, not quantity. Some days I practice for hours; other days it will be just a few minutes.” ~ Yo Yo Ma

We are approaching that stage of the semester where the urgency of practice time takes on a whole new meaning. There are five weeks left in the semester before juries, and everyone is feeling it, including me. There is a faculty chamber music concert on Nov. 16 (playing in three works), plus, at the end of that week, I am playing with the ProMusica Colorado Chamber Orchestra, which I very much enjoy.

As the quote says, practicing is about quality, not quantity, which is why I chose this quote. Yes, we do have to plan our practicing to make sure every scale, etude, and solo repertoire gets its full attention. But when I am pressed for time, I practice my scale/arpeggios for the day, and after that, I will work on a tricky passage or a lyrical passage. To me, that still counts as practicing, even when it isn’t the full amount of time I would like. On those days, it is vitally important for me to remember that I still have to practice in a relaxed, focused way.

What are your practice tricks for those days when time is short? I would love to hear from you!

Until next time,
Margaret Miller