<![CDATA[Terra Warger, violinist - Blog]]>Sun, 07 Feb 2016 23:30:54 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[February 07th, 2016]]>Mon, 08 Feb 2016 01:49:55 GMThttp://www.terrawarger.com/blog/february-07th-2016
Get a Grip on Practice

You wake up. It's Lesson Day. Does that fill you with dread, or excitement? Usually when you are not looking forward to a lesson it means you are not prepared. Is that because you focused too much on one thing, and not enough on others? Did you not manage the precious little practice time you had wisely? Maybe there's a lack of focus to your 8 hour practice session?

Goals are wonderful to help keep focus during practice. They can be specific things like 'focus on tone production and quality' , or 'learn the rest of the notes of this sonata'. They can take the form of a question. As you play, you could ask yourself, 'do I like my tone in this passage?' Or maybe, 'what is character of this piece, and does it show in how I play?'

Priorities are important in your practice. Do you have a competition coming up soon? Is there an audition for which you need to learn new music? Make a list of all the music you have to practice, and label the high priority pieces. This will help in determining how much time to spend on each piece.

Time management:
I spent my junior year of my undergrad working almost 30 hours a week at a restaurant, because my family was having difficulties financially and I could not count on their support. I was also taking 18 credit hours (a full load for undergraduates) of classes, music and non-music subjects. Needless to say, I was strapped for time. This became apparent in my playing almost immediately. I didn't know my chamber music. I bombed my seating audition. I was unprepared for lessons.... My teacher asked me what was wrong (I previously had been very prepared and responsible!) and I admitted that IF I had practice time, it was maybe 1-2 hours tops (less than half of what I had been practicing before). We spent the rest of that lesson detailing what to practice-given 1.5 hours- and revamping my routine so I was able to make progress. I started setting timers, and documenting my progress in detail (practice log!). MAN did that make a difference! I made just as much progress that year as I did any other year, and have been organizing and planning my practice ever since!
Because I would manage my time so well, I also realized that even 10 minutes of practice is better than nothing- if it's goal oriented and organized. Prior to this realization, if I didn't have at least an hour to practice, I wouldn't. Countless minutes were WASTED when I had that mindset!

Some things to keep in mind while setting the parameters for your practice:
-Give yourself just a little LESS time on each thing you do than you might want. The extra pressure will make you work more efficiently.
-plan when you take breaks (at least one 10 minute break every 50 minutes. If it work s for Gil Shaham it works for me too!) and what you will do in your breaks. (Netflix episode? Ehhh... Maybe not. Log your practice, stretch, hydrate, read my blog? WELL SURE!)
-constantly check and recheck your priorities list. As you work on things, they might become less of a priority, so you should spend less time on it, or move it to something you do every other day.
-ask yourself questions. In this way, you become your own teacher. That can help your time be super productive. Even if it's something as simple as, 'can I play this passage confidently and consistently?'
-read your log. It might seem silly, but that little note you made about finding a good fingering next time could have slipped your mind! Or maybe you forgot that you practiced arpeggios yesterday, and instead need to focus on broken thirds and chromatic scales today.

Questions? Comments? Need help setting up your practice list and log? Let me know! And happy practicing!!

<![CDATA[Leap Into Practicing!]]>Mon, 01 Feb 2016 19:28:55 GMThttp://www.terrawarger.com/blog/leap-into-practice
-Happy February! 

For those who don't follow me on Instagram              --> @viochic<--  I wanted to let you know about a little challenge going on this month! Some other Instagrammers (@hungrymusician, and @ellapittz) and I decided we want to make the most of our practice, and the best way to do that is with a practice log! It takes at LEAST 28 days to form a habit, so what perfect timing- we're going to LEAP into Practicing this month! (Get it? It's a Leap Year!) Here's some helpful tips to start you off on the right foot! 

1) Set Goals- 
     Do you want to focus on technique? Do you need to learn repertoire fast? Or are you like me, and you need to maintain a lot of repertoire for a bunch of auditions?  Make sure that you have your goals clearly defined, as that will help steer your practice in the right direction. 

2) Form Habits-
     This includes routines. If you can, practice around the same time of day. Just like eating habits or sleeping habits, if you have a routine it becomes easier to maintain those habits. This will be challenging for me, as I will be traveling a lot this month. If you can't find the same times of day, that's OK too! Just get that practice done! 

3) It's a Process-
     Remember, much like other habits that are hard to make or break, this might be difficult. I took on this challenge because I know it will push me to ALWAYS make time to practice. However, if you miss out on a day, don't give up! You can pick right back up the next day and continue making progress!

Imagine how accomplished you will feel when you look back at your log, and see all the progress you've made! I think this is a great example of Positive Peer Pressure-- I want to do my best to practice every day to share these experiences with others, and to rally together when it becomes difficult! 

Share some goals/inspiration/encouragement in the comments, and make sure to follow me on Instagram! 

Happy Practicing,

<![CDATA[Practice Nook]]>Wed, 13 Jan 2016 20:21:52 GMThttp://www.terrawarger.com/blog/practice-nookHello! And welcome to my blog! 

First off, I'm so happy I figured out how to do this... You will soon find out I'm not the most 'tech-savvy' of people. 

The goals of this blog are simple: I want to share with you a bit about my life as a violinist. I get a lot of questions like, 'So what does a violinist do?' or 'What is your goal with all this school and practicing?' I'm going to be answering some of those questions!

I also want to give you some tips and tricks for practicing, to hopefully make your life as a violinist (or your child's musical journey) easier and more fun! All the practice we do on a daily basis, along with the criticism (whether constructive or otherwise) can really wear you down! 

That brings me to a great starting point: practice!

The first thing you have to do is make yourself a comfortable practice nook. Somewhere that works for you- some people need to go into a room away from the 'hub' of the home, some people need to be nearer to the action. It depends on your focus abilities. 
Your practice nook needs to be inspiring. You can have inspirational quotes, candles, or fresh flowers (watch out for allergies!) to make it more comfortable for you. I have a candle, some cute musical/cat quotes, and some knick-knacks I inherited from my grandmother, who was a great inspiration to me and encouraged my musical education. 
Have a music stand, pencil, and a metronome always at hand. Make sure the music stand can raise (or lower) to whatever height you need- don't slouch or strain to see. 
Keep your practice sessions focused and purposeful. Take breaks to hydrate (did I mention having a water or tea nearby??) and keep track of your progress. It's always good to look back and see the result of your hard work. 

Stay tuned for my practice log challenge, and practice smart!