Is ‘Deliberate Practice’ Really the Key to Being a Great Violin Player?
As anyone who has played one or several instruments on a regular basis over several years can testify, a love and an enthusiasm for the instrument(s) you play that doesn’t seem to diminish over time is something that you need to keep playing. It may also be true that having some success in learning i.e. improving is also a key in motivator.
We often hear that practice makes perfect, most of us would settle for being juts ‘really good’. It stands ton reason that frequent and regular violin practice is the way to become ‘good’ but is there a certain kind of practice that has the potential to make any of great players? If we simply play what we like and enjoy when we practice and we leave all that technical and theory stuff to the early years when we’re still beginners, are we actually doing ourselves a disservice and resigning ourselves to never really getting that much better?
Some research has shown that a prolonged, intense period (e.g. 10 years) of what is known as ‘deliberate practice’ has the potential to make any violin player great. Deliberate practice is the kind of effortful, uncomfortable, methodical practice deigned to optimize improvement i.e. stretching your learning each time, rather than just playing what you like to play or what you always play.
Read more about the results of the 1990s Berlin study here (Ericsson, K. Anders; Krampe, Ralf T.; Tesch-Römer, Clemens).