Alban's Blog

Do you like to practice?

As a teenager and by rather lazy nature I didn‘t like practicing too much, as a matter of fact I practically hated it. Nowadays it has beomethe greatest pleasure because it is the only time where I can really focus on just one thing. No telephone, no computer with e-mail, no so-called multi-tasking, but just the cello, me and the music. It is almost like an escape from the multiple tasks a career requires. I love to practice new pieces, and there always lays a great challenge in re-learning pieces I played already a thousand times. The more often I work on a piece intensely, the deeper I can feel it, the better I understand it and recognize performing possibilities which I hadn‘t seen before, but as everything in life, the last few percents of achieving anything hurt a lot.


  • Boris Nedialkov

    Being now a teenager, I understand pretty well why you hated practicing…..there are so many other interesting things to do, like sports, computer games, going out with friends….I have to confess that reading about your experience was a real comfort to me, as I am lazy too, especially when it comes to practicing scales, studies and tricky passages. I do enjoy playing a piece which is already “in my hands”, only I can’t play it in the same way twice. Does this happen to you too? To want to play differently every time? And be surprised by the outcome?

  • anonymous

    I definitely understand how you felt. I find that I have good days for playing and bad days. On the bad days, I start practicing and realize that the practice room is the last place that I want to be. But on good days, when I can focus and play well, I really enjoy practicing.

    I love the blog, keep doing it!

  • Alban

    Oh yes, there are bad and good days – even though in the past few years I managed to eliminate the bad days, or better: whenever I felt it was a bad day, I’d rather do something else, like read a book, meet friends or practice without the instrument, just read scores, but intensely.
    I said I didn’t like practicing, but I must admit that since I was 13 years old my teacher Markus Nyikos in Berlin made me practice in a very efficient way these kind of daily exercises which I do until today. For a time being I made Jascha Heifetz my idol, who said once, if he had 6 hours time to practice, he’d practice 4 hours pieces and 2 hours technique, if he had 4 hours time, he did 2 hours music and 2 hours technique, and if he had only two hours time, he practiced only technique.
    My theory is that celloplaying is quite hard, but if you are in good shape, the pieces themselves are not as hard as the pieces in the violin or piano repertoire. That means, working the basics on a more or less daily base is almost essential, especially in younger years. Many teachers like to talk about music, because it’s abstract and beautiful, but in order to make music, we need certain technical standards. In most of my masterclasses I have to go back to basics with students and I am often shocked how little knowledge there is about fundamental necessities.

  • Thomas Walter

    You said sometimes you practise without the instrument! I don´t understand… how to do this?

  • kristina

    i very like practising in the evening…i don t know why.To be somewehere alone and only to play…


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