by Lawrence Hurst, Indiana University
1. Organize your practice over the week with specific goals in mind. (You may want to write down your goals.)
2. Focus on the real problems. Don’t just play what you know over and over.
3. ISOLATE the challenging part – ex. the shift, the fingerings, etc. (remember a shift is just moving the arm from one note to another note – find where in the music the shift happens and just practice those two notes). Don’t just play it over and over and hope it will get better!
4. Be specific about what to practice. If you have a problem in the piece of music, find a scale or another piece that will help with the problem.
5. ALWAYS WORK WITH A METRONOME! This can not be emphasized enough.
6. Devote time during every practice session to intonation (playing in tune): long tones, arpeggios (broken chords), open strings, harmonics, etc.
7. Bowing exercises are a must for every young player.
8. Practice when you have the best energy and the fewest outside distractions.
9. Quality is better that quantity. 1 hour of quality practice is better than 4 hours of mindless practice. Concentrate when you practice – fix the problems!!
10. Frequency is much more beneficial than fewer, longer practice periods with lapses between.
11. Slow practice is the only way to achieve accuracy and facility.
Reprinted with permission of the International Society of Bassists