There are many conflicting views on this subject. You need to learn what works best for you. From 1990 to 1993, I was studying with a teacher who taught me a 20 minute warm up exercise. He had done it every day for 30 years! I calculated he had repeated this exercise for a total of 3,630 hours. I decided that instead of numbing my brain with repetition, I would spend 3,360 hours learning new tunes, advancing my technique, promoting my career or learning anything I didn't already know! The violin virtuoso Fritz Kreisler would just put his hands in warm water to losen them up before a gig. He said, "Music is played with the soul, not the hands". Your hands should experience warm temperatures to losen them up before a gig, and cold after the gig to reduce inflammation.
How long is your attention span? When is your mind most receptive? For most humans, it's about 20 minutes. Is it a smart to play something you already know, which needs no thought, repeatedly during what could be the most productive time of your practice session?
When I taught at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, I saw students for the four years needed for a degree. I noticed that after being with me a year, one student hardly improved. I asked how he practiced. He described his two hour daily warm up "before practicing": every scale, in every key, in every position! I asked what he practiced next? He said, he was too tired to continue practicing.
Practice material that requires the most thought first but be careful not to overtax your hands. Hands don't know the difference between a boring exercise, interesting music, or brushing your teeth, but your mind does. Then I receive the pleasure of playing exciting music and the challenge of learning.
Your hands are busy all day. Avoid hurting your hands whether you play the guitar or cut the grass. When playing the guitar, remember that your mind and heart are the source of the music. Don't waste time daydreaming while practicing. Play the guitar here and now, consciously!
Someday your career will end and you will no longer be able to play music. Do you want to look back at your life and see that you've spent a million hours repeating warmup exercises instead of actually playing music?
Summary: The attention span for peak constructive thought is 20 minutes. The Mayo Clinic suggests resting the hands after each 20 minute practice session.
Conclusion: You can practice most efficiently without hand damage with numerous 20 minute sessions instead of one long one.
The bottom line: How much quality daily practice do you perform without hurting yourself?
A musician should have a strong, fit, youthful body. The best physical exercise I've encountered is "the five tibetans". They take only about 15 minutes twice a day to perform. No equipment or purchase is required. They are free. They build a strong youthful body. Visit the website for instructions on how to perform them: www.lifeevents.org
POWER PRACTICING by Jack Grassel
BRAIN TRAINING by Jack Grassel
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