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Thread: How much do you practice?

  1. #1
    We're all mad here elbent's Avatar
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    Default How much do you practice?

    How frequently do you practice/play, and how long have you been playing?

    I‘ve been playing a week, and at first it was really painful and I couldn’t play more than 3 10 minute increments per day. I’ve built the beginnings of callouses and got the action on my mando lowered so today I ended up playing for three hours on and off. I’m just curious what other people’s practicing habits are!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    Pick ‘til your fingers bleed, wait ‘til it’s stopped and then you can start again.

    At least that’s how I remember it. It was a very long time ago - some 50 odd years!

  3. #3
    Registered User Joey Anchors's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    I practice an hour a day (on and off). More if I’m feeling productive.
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  5. #4
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    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    Play daily much of what we do is muscle memory. If you have time for an hour do that. Less if you don't have that time still Play Daily! Fingers toughen up but hurting yourself in the process of learning is not good. Enjoy the process it can last a lifetime. I usually play between one and two hours. That's about what my aging fingers will put up with...… R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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  7. #5
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    Much like Joey, I'm doing an hour daily.
    Your fingers will adapt to the pressure if you give them time and don't overdo it - injury is not the way, pain is a warning sign that is there for a reason. After 30+ years, my left hand fingers are actually longer than those on the right because of callus, and they don't feel much any more (like in leather thimbles).
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  8. #6
    Hands of Pot Metal
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    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    Because I started late, 60+, i do multiple 30 minute sessions per day, trying to make 6. Tea makes a nice break. Used to jam on top of that as well. Back when I worked, I did 90 minutes before work and 90 minutes after work.

    Haven’t found a mandolin with the talent built in

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  10. #7
    formerly Philphool Phil Goodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    One hour of specifically learning or practicing techniques that I am not good at. Followed by an hour of playing tunes or songs that I enjoy.
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  11. #8
    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    We are all different and should watch ourselves and observe how we learn most efficiently and enjoyably. What works for one person may not work for another. For me, as a beginner, the question is not how much I practice, it is “What is the quality of my practice!”. If I, for example, were to play scales for an hour, I can almost guarantee that after 15 minutes my mind will “disengage” and I will very likely spend the remaining time reinforcing a bad habit or poor technique. For this reason I take the advice of a well known professional mandolinist, Pete Martin: I choose a specific goal, for example hitting all strings equally in a two or three course tremolo, and focus intently on it for 15 minutes. Then, whether I feel successful or not, I stop. I take a short break, stretch et al, and then focus on a new 15 minute subject. I divide my overall time across the areas of technique, practicing a new piece, and developing a small repertoire. Since I am a not an advanced student, I seem to weight my practice towards technique. I only study classical mandolin. Different genres may possibly require a different approach (?). Most importantly I make sure I enjoy all of my practice. If I am not really enjoying it and having a real sense of content satisfaction, I believe that means my practice needs a change.

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    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    While practice is essential to keep your playing ability up and for learning new tunes, for a beginner a few lessons to make sure you're doing it correctly can be of great benefit. Practicing bad technique can actually hold you back from reaching the playing level you hope to achieve. An hour a day of practice is good especially if you keep up a consistent schedule but some instruction from an experienced teacher can make a big difference when you're starting out.

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    Registered User T.D.Nydn's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    I try to practice 2-3 times a day in 20-30 min. sessions,,every day..

  16. #12
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    I started playing mandolin in Jan 2009, but I'd already been playing the tenor banjo since 2007 and guitar since I was a kid. I play/practice for 2 hours a day, usually switching off with tenor banjo one day and mandolin the next. Even coming from a guitar/tenor banjo background I found that my fingertips were sore (and I had decent callouses already!) when I first started playing mandolin for the first week or so, but then I was fine. Make sure you're not using excessive pressure to push down on the strings, just use enough pressure to get a nice clear note. Any other pain - wrist or elbow pain for example, is telling you that your mechanics need to change - alter the angle of how you hold the mandolin, use a strap so that you're not having to support the weight of the neck with your left hand when playing, check your posture when playing to make sure that it's not contributing to poor technique that could result in wrist/elbow pain etc.
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  18. #13

    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    Before I developed wrist/thumb pain I was practicing an hour a day. I have an instructor who determines what I practice
    and the goals I work for each week. That helped a lot.

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  21. #15

    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    Not nearly enough for me, either .

  22. #16

    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    I don't really practice much as just play. I have a guitar or mandolin in my hands most of the time when I'm at my desk.

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    DLC 

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    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    I've been a working musician for 40 years, and I still practice at least an hour every day -- not including the hours I play on bookings. The dexterity you earn from practicing can disappear in a hurry if you let it.

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  26. #18

    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    Quote Originally Posted by DLC View Post
    I've been a working musician for 40 years, and I still practice at least an hour every day -- not including the hours I play on bookings. The dexterity you earn from practicing can disappear in a hurry if you let it.
    lol It sure can. Getting old has the same effect. lol

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  28. #19

    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    Not to take anything away from the folks who practice an hour+ per day -- far from it -- but I just want to point out that it's OK to do less than that. I have a full time job and two young kids. I also happen to be the one who typically cooks dinner (b/c I like to cook). Sometimes my practice time is limited to wearing my mandolin wandering around the kitchen while something boils or cooks. Now, I'd barely call that practice -- I'm just playing for fun, mostly. But improvement does happen, even with that non-focused approach, especially in the early stages when you're trying to get your fingers to do what you want them to do.
    Better to play a little bit, opportunistically, every day if you can, than to wait for an hour-plus window of time for a real practice session.

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  30. #20
    Chu Dat Frawg Eric C.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    Not as much as I should!
    Kentucky KM950 and loving it.

  31. #21
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    In the early 80s I practiced between 10 and 16 hours daily. Had a job taking change on the graveyard shift of a self service gas station. In the 90s it was about 4 hours daily. Now in my 60s, I practice between 30 min and 2 hours daily.

    I tell students to try and pick it up a few times a week and play it as long as they enjoy it. If they like it, the time flows. If you don't like it, why bother?
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  33. #22

    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    I think the term practice must be more clearly defined. If I am learning a new tune I don’t consider it practicing the tune. Once I know the tune I practice it to make it predictably repeatable at the level I want to express it. I often reach a plateau and then need to let it sit for awhile. I am certain that my brain is still assimilating and consolidating information about the new piece. When I return to it I find the tune becomes more accessible to me and then I could bring it to a new level through more practice. For my own learning process I can’t force it!

  34. #23

    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    Just to finish up as I never offered a time!
    I play my instruments 1-4 hours per day. This includes noodling, memorizing, taking instruction, adjusting my fingering and studying the tunes! I enjoy the road playing them and improving. Within this time I guess some practice is going on!

  35. #24
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    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    clearly not enough
    I used to scales often but haven't in a while
    I tend to focus on arpeggios or chords or rhythms in phases, focusing on one or the other

    I mostly try to play tunes or learn new music from sheet music or by ear, I really don't go through technical exercises daily, though I probably should.
    I do use the metronome , probably not enough though.
    While I always want to play "better" ( cleaner and better tone) and I do set technical advancement goals, I really just enjoy playing and so do play as much as possible every day, even if that's only 10 minutes here and there.
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
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  36. #25
    Registered User Mike Romkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much do you practice?

    At least an hour. I like to play as much as possible, around other things that need to happen. The morning is the best time to practice. I usually start practicing with my second cup of coffee. (I cannot overemphasize the importance of early morning practice, and strong black coffee.) I have a routine where I play the circle of fourths using different picking patterns. Then arpeggios. Then I play some Bill Monroe tunes and fiddle tunes. Finally, I try to work on a new tune. If that's all I get to, I've really given both hands a workout. Pete Martin (who posted above) has some excellent practice tips on his website.
    Last edited by Mike Romkey; May-28-2020 at 9:59am.
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