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Thread: Practice after graduation and before retirement

  1. #1
    Apprentice, Piano
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Practice after graduation and before retirement

    Well this is a chance to collect a few thoughts from those of you who are in that busy age, post graduation from college/university and before retirement.
    Yes, college/university students are busy and so are those of you in retirement. No argument.

    (ps... college/university kids... learn as much rep. as you can in school!!!)

    So, you with a spouse, a home/farm, a pet, a kid or two and a day job... what is your method for learning new rep. ...rep. at the top edge of your ability?

    Just curious. I have not found anything that yet works for my situation. What works for you?


  2. #2
    Lieutenant, Associate Concertmaster AllanP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Sherwood, OR, USA

    Learning New Repertory

    My work requires a lot of travel so my only practice time is on weekends. I am taking private organ lessons, about once a month. The teacher does the primary job of selection of new pieces at the edge of my capability. She attempts to pick pieces that will be interesting as well as challenging.

    I play Friday evening after the plane ride, Saturday am, Sunday am, and other times as convenient. Progress is slow but my playing is getting more polished all the time. It takes a long time to perfect a piece.

    My present project is the "Coronation March" by Meyerbeer to give an idea of my level of playing.

  3. #3
    Commander, Assistant Conductor
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Dear Westhill,

    Having been in the same situation as you, I maybe can offer some advice. I think the first important thing is to accept that, with all the demands on your time, you cannot develop 100% of your musical potential. But that doesn't mean you should give up; you should just aim a little lower, say 50%.
    The next thing is to get on a schedule. Decide when and how long to practise, and then do it, regardless of how you feel. Tell your family that this is work, and that they shouldn't interrupt unless it's necessary. If you are interrupted, just go right back to practising as soon as you can.
    I think it also helps a lot to have a sýmpathetic teacher whom you consult with on a regular basis. A good teacher makes demands on you, but doesn't get mad when you miss the mark.
    When you practise, resist the temptation to spend a long time warming up with technique. and then trying to perfect ad infinitum the pieces you already know. Instead, start with a short warmup, and then plunge right in to the new repertoire. This is a very difficult way to practice, but it's the only way if you're short on time and want to see results.
    It can also help to keep a calendar, where you write every day what you intend to practise, and then afterwards what you accomplished.
    These tips have helped me enough that, over the years, I've made substantial progress. I don't play as well as I once dreamt of doing, but at least I haven't given up as so many others have done.


  4. #4
    Captain of Water Music jvhldb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Ladybrand, Free State, South Africa
    Between work and the commings and goings in the church I get up at 5am to practice, now matter whether I feel like practicing or not, I force myself to practice daily. My lesson is 11am Sunday mornings, if I missed a practice during the week because of work etc, I try to make up the missed time on Sunday afternoons. I also found that it helps a lot to practice Sunday afternoons, then I can still remember what my teacher told me that morning.
    Johan van Heerden

  5. #5
    Rear Admiral Appassionata
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    I think once you are out there working as an organist, the primary thing you would be dealing with is the music you actually have to perform, and by that I don't just mean organ works, but accompaniments to things can be quite difficult too. So that will tend to take priority, then fitting into that developemental work in excess time becomes the watch word as far as I'm concerned.

    IMO you gotta be organised or nothing will get done properly...

    Just my two-penworth

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