Music Practice Quotes

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. . .how addicted we musicians become to the supposed virtue of grinding practice . . .
“God, I worked four hours straight on the Bruch today. It just doesn’t get any better. And the Bach – I don’t think I’ll ever get those shifts in tune consistently.”
“I know what you mean. I tried one shift two hundred times in a row today to clean it up, but I still can’t trust it. Oh my arm is so sore! Anyone have a heating pad?”
“I’ve got one, but need it for my shoulder. I’ve got an audition coming up in two weeks and if this keeps up I won’t even be able to lift my violin. Got any aspirin?”
“I’ve just got to get in at least ten or twelve hours each day over the weekend”
These are normal young people. There are thousands like them throughout the country suffering from the same addiction. But addiction it is is, and it’s an insidious one because it usually goes by more acceptable names such as ‘devotion’, ‘commitment’ and ‘dedication’.
— Eloise Ristad, Ristad, Eloise., A Soprano On Her Head (Real People Press, 1982), p.38-9

It is important to practice at the speed of no mistakes — Lucinda Mackworth-Young, Stringer et al, The Music Teacher’s Handbook (Faber Music, 2005), p.8

There is a direct parallel in the way that we speak, with natural variations of pitch and volume that give full meaning to our words. This is what is missing in the words on the page of a book, and the notes on the score. — Howard Snell, Snell, Howard., The Art of Practice (Pen Press, 2006), p.35

[perfectionism leads to] a tendency to apologize preemptively for one’s efforts, knowing from experience that there’s sure to be something wrong with them. — William Westney, Westney, William., The Perfect Wrong Note (Amadeus Press, 2003), p.132

Good listening is always the first step in the process that creates technique and capability — Howard Snell, Snell, Howard., The Art of Practice (Pen Press, 2006), p.33

Never ever practice. Always perform. — Dave Martin

If you sound great in the practice room, you’re practicing the wrong thing.

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. — Berthold Auerbach

One day of practice is like one day of clean living. It doesn’t do you any good. — Abe Lemons

The more a piece affects out heart, the more easily we remember it. — Madeline Bruser, Bruser, Madeline., The Art of Practicing (Bell Tower, 1997), p.221

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