Motivation and Practice Habits Course

Perhaps we’ve all heard the old joke attributed to violinist Mischa Elman, who answered tourist’s question, “How do you get to Carnagie Hall?” with the witty answer, “Practice!” And clearly, all musicians understand he meant consistent and regular practice of the right things – and plenty of it. There’s a world of meanings and implications in that simple word.

young violinists practising

If you’re a musician, it’s an unavoidably important part of life, since we spend far more time practising than actually performing!

How we practise is crucial, because – as every instrumental teacher knows – it’s possible to implant poor technique as much as good. Moreover, in spite of the mountains of material and advice available in textbooks, online and elsewhere about what to practise, there’s precious little about the elephant in the room: how to achieve consistent practice.

It’s mainly left up to that old workhorse, motivation, either from internal sources like self discipline, determination and willpower, or externally from the dedication of an Amy Chua-like parent. Remember the agonies Lang Lang went through from his father?

Does it need to be such an arduous struggle?

music books

Unsurprisingly, this emerged as a leading issue when I surveyed Teach Suzuki Violin readers and members a year or so ago about their biggest challenge in teaching, studying and playing violin.

How to keep the practice going happily along without losing momentum is a problem experienced by most young musicians at some time or another.

Many parents reported a parallel problem: how to keep their child motivated to practise without turning into a tired tiger mother/father, becoming a bribing ATM machine, a cajoling cheerleader or worse, a hassling nag.


We’d all like to be inspired and enthusiastic about practice all the time, but even if it was possible, we don’t actually need to be. What we really need is an infallible practice habit. Then we can put all our energy, enthusiasm and love into where it’s most needed: the music.

As expected, students feel good when they sense progress in their playing – which, let’s face it, is only possible with regular reliable practice. With irregular practice comes a stop-start roundabout of guilty feelings, relieved by bursts of activity and, don’t we all know, unsatisfying lessons and slow progress.

A perpetual practice habit eliminates the guilt-binge-guilt cycle and gets you where you want to go without the hassle, but how exactly do you create one?

For most of us, the answer is curiously different from accepted common knowledge, mainly because the habits we acquire are mostly formed without our conscious awareness of the process. They seem to happen by themselves – especially the unwanted ones.

In our violin institute, understanding and solving this pivotal question created and sustained the fastest and most consistent advances for all of our students. We want to make this knowledge and training available to all who need it, and we created the Motivation and Practice Habits Course.

Here’s some of the video tutorials and topics from the course:

What is Motivation?
Working Together for Parent and Students.
The Morning Practice Session.
How to Build a Good Practice Habit.

A key part of the Motivation and Practice Habits Course is access to the teachers who created it. We want you to experience the success our students and parents achieved. Perhaps it’s not a magic formula or some secret knowledge, but it is a proven way through the practice forest.

The course is now included in the TSV Gold Membership subscription.



Coming Up Next: Mozart’s Concerto No. 5 in A Major K.219 (Vol. 9)

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