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Routine Archives

Dealing with Feeling Overwhelmed
Ask Damian Erskine

Dealing with Feeling Overwhelmed

Q: How do you deal with feeling overwhelmed with everything you want to/feel you should be working on? A: I’ve written a column in the past relating to how to maximize your work flow and time management. I thought that I’d take a bit of a different approach this time, although I would encourage you to read that column as...

Does It Take 10,000 Hours To Master An Instrument?
Ask Damian Erskine

Does It Take 10,000 Hours To Master An Instrument?

Q: What would you say that it takes for someone to master an instrument? I’ve heard the “10,000 hours” thing but sure not all 10,000 hours are created equal? A: I couldn’t agree more with you that not all hours in the shed are created equally. Time spent with well-considered goals for yourself – practicing with focus and intention –...

How To Structure Limited Practice Time
Ask Damian Erskine

How To Structure Limited Practice Time

Q: I work a “real job” – as in four 10-hour days a week. I get up at 3:15 am Tuesday through Friday, commute to work, put in my 10 hour day, plus a half-hour for lunch, and by the time I get home from my afternoon commute, it can be as late as 6 pm. I’m usually pretty tired,...

Lesson Plans for the New Year
Ask Damian Erskine

Lesson Plans for the New Year

For this first installment of the new year, I thought that I would try and help motivate us all. I thought about the new year, new goals, fostering forward momentum and the dreaded new year’s resolutions popped into my head. Instead of encouraging all of us to go to the gym and stop eating pizza for breakfast, I wanted to...

Improving Practice: 4 Pitfalls to Avoid in the Practice Room
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Improving Practice: 4 Pitfalls to Avoid in the Practice Room

We learn and grow musically from a variety of sources. Teachers, performances, fellow musicians, etc. all play a role in our progress, but our most direct improvement comes from our time in the practice room. That’s why spending time practicing each day is so important. Sometimes, however, even when are putting in time daily, we don’t see results. There can...

Starting Back Up on Bass After a Long Break
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Starting Back Up on Bass After a Long Break

Even those of us who maintain a regular practice routine may find ourselves taking an extended period of time away from our instrument. Vacations, travel, illness, work, incarceration, etc. can keep even the most dedicated musician away from their instrument. With an instrument as physically demanding as the double bass, we would be wise to put forethought into how we...

How Much Should I Practice?
The Lowdown with Dr. D

How Much Should I Practice?

This is a question I get often from both serious students and amateurs alike. Since the answer depends on a person’s goals, and every person is unique, there is no single answer for everyone. However, I can make some general suggestions. My suggestions will presuppose a few things: You practice on a regular basis Daily, 6-7 days a week. This...

Discovering the Right Practice Routine
Ask Damian Erskine

Discovering the Right Practice Routine

Q: Some people stand strongly by the notion of having a true practice routine while others claim that routines stunt growth, because the same thing is being practiced each day (e.g. scale modes in broken thirds with such-and-such technique striving for X bpm). Will you please elaborate on what a routine is and how to create one that keeps one...

Ten Prescriptions for Productive Practice
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Ten Prescriptions for Productive Practice

Playing is fun, and important, but real progress happens when we practice. In fact, the most significant element in our development is our daily practice regimen. So, how we approach it is vital. To help us get the most out of our sessions, here are ten principles for productive practice: For best results, practice 6 days a week. Less than...

Structuring Your Practice: A Checklist for Bass Players
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Structuring Your Practice: A Checklist for Bass Players

Any serious musician will practice regularly. While consistency is the most significant factor in our progress, we need to make good use of our practice time if we want continued improvement. No one set of specific materials (i.e. specific etudes, etc.) will be appropriate for everyone, but any successful long-term plan will hit on a few distinct areas each day....