Try this:  listen to someone else who is learning your instrument when they practice, and give them a compliment on something that is going well for them. ♥


When you don’t know what to do, ask a question. First ask your teacher – call him or her or send an email. We’re here to help you and we don’t want you to waste time floundering around or practicing incorrectly.♥


Playing something badly right now does not mean it will always sound this way. If we don’t try, we won’t learn. So making a mistake but at least getting a sound from the guitar or violin is a start in the right direction! Persevere, ask for help and find one thing about the problem that you CAN do, and do that. Even if the one thing you can do is playing the rhythm of the problem on an open string (which is a valuable way to approach problem spots).♥


Let’s make string playing mainstream. Just think about what kind of world this would be if most people learned the patience, diligence, care, kindness, musicality, technique and aesthetics that we work on. Even if 10% more people in the world started to play music than there are who do right now, what a huge difference this would be! We are making the world a better place by playing music. You’re helping this along by learning your instrument. Keep going and be proud of your accomplishment! xx  ♥


Absorb all you can at your lesson and take good notes. Ask questions if you don’t understand something. Then use the notes daily in your practice.♥♥♥


To improve is to change.

Henning Kraggerud


Don’t be afraid to be a beginner. 

–Ray Brown, legendary bassist

In learning music and in learning life, there is always something new to learn where we are called to be beginners. Shall we shy away from it or step up to the plate? The choice is ours. ♥♥♥


How are your instrument, strings and bow? Maintenance is very important to your equipment! Make sure you have budgeted for strings & replace them when they are worn (before they break), bow rehair, quality rosin, and take care of any problems like cracks or scratches by visiting your luthier. That’s right – a real luthier – who is someone who has made a career of caring for and building instruments! If you don’t need your luthier right now, consider at least cleaning and polishing your instrument with instrument cleaner and polish. Hint:  did you know that you can clean the inside of your instrument by putting a few pieces of dry (uncooked) rice inside, shaking them around, and then shaking them out? ♥


Sound is the base of your playing. First of all listen to the sound you are making. Does it ring out clear and pure? Or is your intonation a little off? When it is really in tune it rings out naturally. Make friends with scales and arpeggios and use them every day.  Really! This cannot be over-emphasized. They should be like the air that you breathe, because without them you won’t have the foundation you need. Watch Ray Brown demonstrate this. This is true for every bowed-string instrument. Mini-masterclass with Ray Brown NOW ♥


Do you play violin and find playing scales in tune to be a challenge? Now just imagine yourself playing them perfectly in tune on the double bass. It puts things a little more in perspective! Whichever instrument you play, imagine yourself hitting every shift with ease. You can! Imagine it vividly, how it feels, how it sounds, how it looks, how you feel, how the air in the room feels and so on. It starts in your mind. ♥


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