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Musical Discipline: Daily Maintenance Routine

Updated: May 10

When I was a music student, I never really knew how to practice effectively. No one taught me anything about having a routine. I might have done things over and over but it never really had a purpose. As I have grown up and become more experienced, I have found the secret to better quality playing and more consistency comes from a good routine.

Mark Glover

The routine doesn't have to be exactly the same every day. I see it as maintenance, so I am just checking everything works fine every day, just like I might check my car tyre pressures or oil level. I could do my routine in a shorter time or I might drag it out longer if I feel that I need it and have the time.

I don't really see my routine as practice any more because I am not necessarily trying to improve in anything I am doing, I just want to maintain my current ability. I use a metronome to help me measure my ability and if needed, later in my practice session, I might pick on one of the areas and try and improve it. For example, in the first video, my single tongue speed was slower than I want it to be. So later that day I would make sure I spend some quality time with the Arban Method Book!

Sticking to a routine takes huge discipline. Some days, I absolutely do not feel like doing my routine. I might just feel impatient to work on a new solo or band piece or I might just want to do something else but I try and resist those temptations. I try and approach my routine in a robotic, mechanical way. If something doesn't feel good, I don't allow any negativity. If I struggle in one area, I just work through it until it feels easier. Usually by getting rid of any tension or just by slowing the tempo down.

I have recorded my routine for 4 days in a row. Other than a tiny bit of reverb and some text, these videos are unedited. You will hear inaccuracies in my playing and that is fine. I am testing myself and putting myself through a set of exercises that I feel help me play better. They are not difficult exercises but can all be simplified or extended.

Having a rigid routine is not a good idea. If you arrive to a rehearsal a bit late and do not have time for a fixed routine then that is not good for you. Your routine should be flexible and should be adapted to the planned practice or performance you have that day. For the recordings I have created, I have tried to keep my routine around the same length, just so viewers can see the dedication that is required. If I arrived to a band rehearsal, I would probably do a shortened version of this but, if I have been doing my routine every day, I generally feel like I do not need to warm up. I am always warmed up and ready to get on with what I need to do.

Here is the first video and the others will appear once ready.

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Thanks for reading/watching. If you like my content please subscribe and help share to help others.

Take care ❤

Mark Glover


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