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Recently I read an article talking about practicing on instruments, some professor said if you practice with absent mind, the longer you practice the more imprint of the mistakes in your brain, and that makes improvement impossible. No doubt. I know this right from the start and I never asked my children practice a certain amount of time. I just told them to practice the part they can’t manage yet then a few more times to ensure the right way and bring into their muscle memory. if they could practice 5 to 10 times a day, I am happy. I also told them to think of the music and play in their mind when they are in the car and can’t physically play on the instruments. Seems i am with the experts all along.

My children both play fiddle good but they have different styles even learn from same teachers. They heard different things from the same song. When my daughter thinking about long stroke bowing my son is thinking legato in the same phrase of melody. The main thing is they all HEARD the music and they are not just play notes. They play fiddle with passion and expression because they play like that in their mind before they apply it on the instrument.

Practice is to make it better, if you just remember the notes and don’t have the music ringing in your mind, you are just a robot do what you told. Anyone can play notes. soon or later. But the musicians can hear how their music touch the audience before they play. i felt annoyed when a teacher or parent told the kids to wave around when they perform, it is awkward and make them look like clowns. my daughter’s teacher said, just relax and let the music drive your body moving so the audience can feel your enthusiasm. Yes, close your eyes and your music is dancing with you. There is another pianist said when you reach the highest level your body will move less because you are playing through your heart not through your body. I think he is talking about the impulse. Why not teach the kids play from their heart from the very beginning. I heard people applause kids play with squeaky sounds because they thought they are too small to make it sound good. No, they are wrong. Suzuki method teaches kids distinguish the tiny difference between sand and beans sound like in a jar while shaking it. Even a 4 years old can recognize beautiful sounding. All they need is to use the right technique and experiment it when they play instruments.

Feel the music is the best way to practice, when you play beautifully in your mind. Your brain will teach your fingers to play like that. I don’t think my kids ever play squeaky notes even when they were 4 and play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. They are not prodigies, they just really hear and feel the music. a 10 minutes practice in your mind is better than 5 hours sawing on the instruments.