It is very easy to get sidetracked and practice ineffectively. You can be extremely efficient, using every moment to do something yet never progress. So how do you make sure you keep growing and improving?
A laser focus on outcomes while remaining optimistic and dedicated to fun can help you choose what to, and more importantly what not to practice. There are only so many hours in the day and your practice should not take up most of them!
So without further ado, here are the five outcomes in order of impact on your audience. Each item takes priority over the next and little else matters beyond these five elements.
If you can fully express emotion through your sound, an audience will almost forgive any other sin. If you don't, they become super-critics and error piranhas. Close on emotional expressivity in importance is storytelling - having an emotional narrative that includes diverse character, compelling lines, drama and a sense of structure will transport your audience to whatever world you choose to take them. Then rhythm: if they feel like dancing, clapping or stomping their feet, you've got them.
80 percent of your effort should be spent on these three outcomes. Yes intonation is important. Yes, a beautiful tone can add grace to your performance but if you want to be out there playing and giving your audience a great time, these come second. Often, since tone production and intonation are so difficult on the violin, they can overwhelm total practice time.
Don't let this happen to you. Prioritize these in order and you'll have a better appreciation for what you most need to practice.
I'll focus on each outcome in future posts and show how to improve them without spending all day.