Practicing for Young Musicians by Harvey Snitkin

Practicing-for-Young-Musicians-Review‘Real progress happens when you take your weekly lesson. Right? Wrong! Success depends on what you do between lessons, when you practice.’ And so begins this excellent book on practice by Snitkin.

The book opens with some general thoughts on practice, problems with traditional approaches to lessons and practice and an explanation that the same generic practice principles apply to all instruments. He also introduces four characters, Backwards Bob, Perfect Patricia, Worrisome Walt and Happy Harry who lead us through different perspectives on practice.

There follows a section on planning where Snitkin talks about aims, how much you should do and also interestingly that practice should not replace other activities in a young persons life.

I was very pleased to see a large portion in the middle of the book given over to practice methods – specific ideas that anyone could apply to their own practice. Among the areas touched on here are: slow vs fast practice, listening, practice partners, scales, using technology and practicing dynamics. It is nice to see practice addressed in specific terms with help for specific problems a musician may face.

With so many ideas and methods it can be confusing for the young player to know how to put all these together. Snitkin proceeds to outline what he calls a ‘balanced approach’ to practice. In simple terms this means including a little bit of everything and not focusing too heavily on one thing.

This book is well laid out with clear headings and division of content. The language used is easy to understand and well suited to younger players. In all this is a very good, easy read and I would recommend it to anyone interested in practice.

Practicing for Young Musicians by Harvey Snitkin, (1997, HMS Publications, ISBN: 978-1888732008) is available from:[amazon asin=1888732008&template=htp price]

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