100 Days of Practice
January 12, 2022 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Violinist Hilary Hahn encourages Instagram musicians to practice 100 days in a row. She started earlier this month with her fifth round of #100daysofpractice challenge, inviting people to join, but emphasizing that it's not a challenge. So far, she has been joined by other violinists, violists, pianists, harpists, clarinettists, saxophonists, and many other musicians from around the world.

Hahn started (and completed) the first round of #100daysofpractice in 2017 and has been doing it every year since then, except for 2020, when she was on sabbatical.
posted by easternblot (11 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I saw this on earlier and was surprised that serious musicians aren’t practicing everyday. Even 15 minutes a day leads to improvement.
posted by misterpatrick at 8:32 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]

I think a lot of these people do play everyday, but not actively practice (new techniques, conscious learning, etc). I'm actually doing the challenge myself (but not posting it on Instagram) and for me it really is about picking up my instrument. Otherwise I would only play if I was preparing for an orchestra concert or something.
posted by easternblot at 8:49 AM on January 12 [1 favorite]

easternblot, that's exactly the problem I run up against. I'll sit down at the piano and play a song or two most days, but actually practicing... it's way too rare. This is a great call to action!

Also, for those not familiar with Hilary Hahn, she's incredible. I don't think anybody in the world plays the 2nd Bach violin concerto better than she does.
posted by saladin at 8:59 AM on January 12 [3 favorites]

Yeah, i feel stupidly naive and i suppose it's obvious, but as a former dedicated youth musician (surely a group with hardly any presence here on mefi!!!), I was initially shocked by the idea that pros wouldn't practice daily.
posted by ominous_paws at 9:08 AM on January 12

I'm a moderately talented semipro trombonist and if I could I surely would practice every day. It's the only way to keep your chops, which on a brasswind are more like gym muscles than just being able to chew your food. Woodwinds are notorious for being able to pick up a dusty horn and be up to speed in three days, but brass guys that don't play all the time go flabby fast.

I recall an instructor quoted as say "I'd rather you played 10 minutes every day than a half hour one day and not at all the next."

And then there's that one from Jascha Heifetz: "If I don't practice one day, I know it; two days, the critics know it; three days, the public knows it."
posted by tspae at 9:42 AM on January 12 [4 favorites]

I saw this on earlier and was surprised that serious musicians aren’t practicing everyday.

I once asked a serious musician how much she practiced and was told in no uncertain terms that that was like asking her how much money she made, so I never asked a musician about practice again.
posted by FencingGal at 11:11 AM on January 12 [3 favorites]

I think the real challenge is when they have a heavy touring schedule........hard to find time and energy to practice, then
posted by thelonius at 11:23 AM on January 12

for those not familiar with Hilary Hahn, she's incredible

Agreed -- although I've only heard her on CD, her mastery of the instrument is breath-taking.
posted by Rash at 11:44 AM on January 12

One can practice medicine, meditation, or music...and the meaning of the word "practice" changes every time.
posted by kozad at 12:20 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]

was surprised that serious musicians aren’t practicing everyday

I was initially shocked by the idea that pros wouldn't practice daily.

I mean . . . they are, mostly. That "first round" article linked makes it clearer - "Though she’s always evaluating her technique, Hahn focuses her practice sessions on fine-tuning the repertoire she’s currently performing and working on upcoming performance repertoire." That's what "practice" is for serious or pro musicians, not just running scales or working on basic techniques like it often is for beginners and amateurs. They've got a pile of specific material to work on all year, so that's what they do. They might slack off the day after a run of shows, but they've always got something to work on for this gig or the next.

The takeaway isn't that pros don't practice every day, it's that someone who already practices every day because she's a pro decided to be more self-aware and self-analytical about her practicing, and because she posted snippets of this to social media it inspired at lot of amateurs who probably don't practice every day to give it a whack.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:08 PM on January 12 [3 favorites]

Really practicing vs. noodling. Yeah. The struggle is real.
posted by ducky l'orange at 9:27 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]

« Older Snowdown Please, I'm Plowing   |   The gray wasteland of many TV shows and movies Newer »

You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.