Which sounds like you? BARELY FLOATING: This is when you basically don’t play, except at your lessons. The lesson is spent reviewing basics and attacking the assignment. If this progresses for a long stretch, it can become frustrating to you and teacher. You will have little or no sense of accomplishment. I may have 1 week per year like this, tops. TREADING WATER: You played a few times, but mainly at school. Barely looked at the assignment. Worked on little or no technique. This usually results in the entire lesson being used to attack the assignment. This may result in a bit of a reward, if the assignment can be worked out. When things are busy, I tread water too, sometimes. DOGGY PADDLE: You are moving forward! You played more days than not, and you learned your assignment for the lesson. At the lesson, we play through the assignment. We will often go back over the assignment and work on one aspect…tone, intonation, or an alternate fingering technique. We might even have time to play for fun. Some of my weeks are like this. FREESTYLE: Now it’s getting fun! You played everyday, and learned your assignment. Maybe worked on technique for a little bit too. You got a cool song in band and have been playing that each night too, just for fun. At the lesson, the assignment goes smoothly, we concentrate on “musicality”, and both simply enjoy playing together. Some real “musical moments” occur. Most of my weeks are like this. GOING FOR THE GOLD: This is the coolest. You are locked into a solid routine, and can actually feel yourself improving. It’s almost impossible to reach this level without playing EVERY DAY for a prolonged period (weeks/months/years at a time). You build technique most, if not all days, attack your assignments, and play for fun. When you hit this stage, practice sessions can last from 40 minutes to 3-4 hours. Lessons are enjoyable, because you basically spend the time PLAYING MUSIC! You might mess up one note, and ask to repeat an entire song, because you know you can do it better. I remember a stretch from 11th grade through my senior year when I played on average 2 hours a day, and probably played for 4+ hours at least once a week. I had a few semesters in college where this was also possible. In the past ten years, those stretches have been rare, but I savor them!

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