When I was preparing for my Piano Performers Licentiate a couple of years back and the 3 years build up to it, I was spending 8 hours a day, 7 days a week at the piano – I didn’t have the time to fail so I made sure I was well prepared. When I first started long sessions, I would find that after x amount of hours, I had achieved absolutely nothing. When this started happening regularly, I took stock and realised that I had wasted those hours and came up with this expression:
IF I CANNOT SEE IMPROVEMENT, I HAVE WASTED MY TIME.
I’m not saying that I must suddenly have a whole new page learnt or the technique down pat. My improvement could be one slur, one note, one nuance, etc. I needed to see that my practise time was being constructively used.
So maybe you are a parent or student reading this. You do not need to spend an hour a day practising fruitlessly. Sometime the 10 minute focused practice session is more fruitful than a week. Add to this that a child usually doesn’t have an attention span longer than their age, and parents (sometimes teachers too) insist that the child does an hour.
Music should be fun, satisfying , enjoyable. We need to practice wisely to maximise our time and not kill it because “we HAVE to practice an hour”.
So look to improve every time you are at your instrument. You WILL make excellent progress.
I hope this helps somebody…..