Practice Tips 101

Here are some tips on how to have an efficient practice session. Follow the 4 tips below to target your goals and to achieve them:

  1. Identify: What is your goal and what would you like to achieve? Let’s say that you want to learn a new scale- make note of any new accidentals and review hand positions like extensions.
  2. Plan: How will you achieve your goal? Come up with an effective practice plan. For example, start playing the new scale at slower tempo than usual to ensure accuracy.
  3. Practice: Execute your practice plan. Basically, “do” what you planned to achieve. Practice playing the new scale and repeat a few times before increasing the tempo. I am a firm believer in muscle memory- with repetition, your body will remember how you performed that particular action.
  4. Assess: Were you able to achieve your goal? Did you feel improvements and are you happy with the progress you made? Going back to the scale example, do you understand what it sounds/ feels like, and are you comfortable playing it at various tempi?

One of the most important aspects in starting the cello is ensuring that you have a good, healthy posture. Remember to check the following 4 things:

  1. Head & Neck: Imagine that there is an invisible string pulling your head up, just enough to be straight but comfortable. Your head should feel like a “bobble” head, with good support but enough mobility.
  2. Back: Keep your back straight with a natural forward incline, refrain from slouching or overarching your spine. Rest the cello gently on your chest.
  3. Shoulders: Keep your shoulders relaxed and let gravity do the work. This sensation should flow through your arms, into your hands as well.
  4. Feet: Make sure that your feet are firmly planted on the ground, as if it is supporting your body weight. You should be able to stand up from your chair at any time without adjusting your feet.