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Daily Practice Routine

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

I try to practice two hours a day.

The first 20 minutes is spent entirely on technique: I start with one scale and work slowly using rhythms with it and get it up to 4 octaves in 16 notes at mm=110. Then I go through all major and minor scales this tempo. Next I will do the same with arpeggios: I do every possible arpeggio starting on a given key so that adds up to a possible eight different ones. I approach the same way as the scales picking out one arpeggio set to warm-up and work rhythms getting up to 16th notes, four octaves at mm=110. See the addendum at the bottom......


Next I approach any new repertoire first while I am mentally very fresh- fingering, technical issues, etc. at a slow tempo and working in small segments. If it's duet repertoire, I will spent some time studying my partners part as well as my own.


These days I am practicing some solo repertoire and some duet repertoire so I mix it up daily but try to get through everything at least every other day. I have rehearsal with my duet partner on Thursday (usually for 2 1/2 to 3 hours) so with the exception of warm-ups, I generally don't practice in addition to the rehearsal.


I am coming to the realization that memorizing is now taking far too much time as it doesn't come as easily as it did when I was much younger and I don't perform as well as I would like for memory so that saves me a lot of practice time. I would like to continue to learn lots of new music in the years to come, both solo and duet.


Addendum: I need to clarify as Tim A. called me out by actually timing the scales and arpeggios. Yes, it actually takes me 30 minutes to complete the cycle rather than 20 minutes. I set the timer- 14 minutes for the scales and 16 minutes for the arpeggios. This allowed extra time to repeat certain ones to make sure each one was played clearly and accurately if I was not satisfied with the first attempt.

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3 Comments


Tim Anderson
Tim Anderson
Feb 08, 2021

LOL! I didn’t mean to call you out Pamela! I was just very impressed with your schedule, tried to match it, but found I could not get through all of that technique in 20 min. Thank you so much for your insights into practicing, it’s been extremely helpful for me!

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Tim Anderson
Tim Anderson
Feb 04, 2021

Wait, you do all scales maj & min, plus 8 forms of arpeggios, all in just 20 minutes??? I got through the majors and only 1/2 of the minor scales (only) in 20 min. Wow. I did try playing them blindfolded, so that probably slowed me down. I feel it’s important to be able to do that though. I rely too much on “sight”, and I think that’s detrimental to my (slow) reading ability

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Tim Anderson
Tim Anderson
Jan 31, 2021

Thank you Pamela! These are some great suggestions on how to structure my daily practice time. I agree with your order, I believe technique is extremely important and should not be overlooked. And that new music should be played first also makes a lot of sense. Thanks for your input!

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