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AdministratorFebruary 11, 2020 at 7:37 pm
Good question – but kind of a tough one to give a simple answer to, because the answer is that “it depends.” For what it’s worth, the question of how to spend one’s time most effectively is always a challenge – whether you’re at the beginner/intermediate level or prepping for a big audition as an experienced professional. =)
However, I would try to approach the question in reverse. As in, as opposed to asking which exercise to use when, ask yourself what your playing goals are for the day/week/month, and then work backwards to figure out what practice strategy would best enable you to reach that goal. Because the different types of practice you’ve just learned about are just different tools that help you get to where you’re trying to go with your repertoire, and you don’t need every tool every day.
For instance, if you have a performance coming up in a month, depending on how long it takes to run through your repertoire, you might record yourself every other day, use that to plan out what to focus on in each practice session (with deliberate practice), and incorporate centering practice into your run-throughs. Depending on how things feel, two weeks out, you might start doing daily run-throughs, and less “woodshedding”, and incorporate more mental practice, and play more for other folks. And then a week out, more mental practice, centering, etc., and playing for other people, unless you’re feeling a little burned out, in which case you might back off a bit. If things are already pretty well learned, it might make sense to do more “practice performance” even earlier, though for some, this feels too early.
All this to say, there’s no “perfect” way to practice, and much of it is trial and error to figure out what works best for you. In terms of the overwhelm, I wonder if it would help to think in terms of 1-week “experiments”? As in, start off the week with a short run-through to see where things are, use that recording to decide what your practice goals will be for the week, and then create a plan for the week, and then record again at the end of the week to see what adjustments you might want to try for the next week. Some weeks you might do more recording in the middle, other weeks less, sometimes you may work more on performance skills like centering, and then other weeks not as much, depending on what your goals are for the week. Might that feel a little less overwhelming?