The Practice Journal Blog.


Start small, win BIG.

May 03, 2017 Brett Yang

Start small, win BIG.

Start small…win big. Have you ever had an epic goal you wanted to achieve but never managed to make it happen?  I was always good about aiming really high, and while this felt great in the moment, I could never get it to actually happen. My lack of discipline and other distractions kept getting in the way…or so I thought. One evening some years ago I decided I wanted to learn all 24 Paganini caprices in the next 24 months. I was so excited, fantasising about the results, that I believed nothing could stop me, not realising that I was...


Dealing with Crippling Self-Doubt

January 30, 2017 Eddy Chen

Dealing with Crippling Self-Doubt

Am I good enough? There’s no way I could ever play like that! Why can’t I just get this right!? These thoughts musicians like myself face all the time. What separates the best from the mediocre is the ability to practice calmly in spite of these emotions. In The Practice Journal, violin pedagogue Dr. Robin Wilson offers some advice: “Patience and persistence is the greatest virtue,” he said. “Frustration, on the other hand, can cause excess muscle tension, limit focus and generally lessen tonal quality.” This advice is echoed by Japanese pedagogue Dr. Suzuki: “Don’t rush, but don’t rest; Patience...


The Not-To-Do List for Musicians: 9 Bad Practice Habits to Stop Now

December 11, 2016 Eddy Chen

The Not-To-Do List for Musicians: 9 Bad Practice Habits to Stop Now

After 17 years of violin playing, I’ve come to learn that often it’s not what you do in the practice room, but what you DON’T DO that counts. Therefore, I’ve decided to compile a list of 9 things NOT-TO-DO in the practice room.  Do not answer phone calls or reply to messages Switch your phone to airplane mode when you practice. Even if you don’t respond, simply seeing the notifications can be enough to throw you off course. The cute kitten video your friend tagged you in can wait.  What finally made me decide to cut off all technology (well,...


How to Stay Motivated

November 18, 2016 Brett Yang

How to Stay Motivated

Hey Brett, “How do I keep myself motivated?” This is a question that most musicians seek out an answer for, a musing that is supposedly responsible for all our success. It also appears quite often in question-and-answer sessions, whether it be at university lectures, on Snapchat or the podcast.  Motivation is an internal process that causes us to act or behave in a way to make us move towards a goal. It is often praised as the secret sauce to our musical success. Don’t get me wrong, having motivation is great in that it keeps us moving forward, but relying...