No Time for Practice? Think Again!

Red Henry

Red Henry

Folks, for Thanksgiving we went to visit Murphy's parents. They live an 8-hour drive south of here, so driving both ways took a lot of hours, and for various reasons no picking developed while we were there. (With Casey, Chris, and three of Murphy's sisters who play, and brother-in-law Mike as well, that's a little unusual. But not many pickers were there at the same time, and we were occupied with turkey and other distractions.)

So what could a person do to keep from getting badly out of shape musically? Well, I just played for a few minutes from time to time, knowing that it was better to do that than to promise myself that I'd play a lot when we got home.

Why is that? It's because it's better to practice even 15 or 20 minutes every day of the week, than it is to play for 3 hours on Saturday. Especially if you are learning to play, if your daily schedule is so crowded and busy that you can't play for your recommended hour a day, then play for 20 minutes. Play for 15 minutes. Play for 10 minutes. Play for whatever time you can manage, because it (1) keeps your hands in touch with the instrument, so it won't feel strange, (2) keeps your right hand -- usually the most difficult one -- in some condition for those banjo rolls or flatpicking notes, and (3) reminds your brain of how it feels to play.

You might not learn much new material while playing for 15 minutes a day, but you can avoid losing ground, and your family, picking friends, and teacher will all appreciate it. If your day is hectic, just get that instrument out and play a little. By the end of the week, you'll be glad you did.


Posted in By Red, Practice and tagged on by .

About Red Henry

Began playing mandolin, guitar, fiddle, and banjo in 1967-69. I married Murphy in 1974. We led the Red & Murphy bluegrass band, playing professionally, from 1975-87. Since then I've handled the technical side of Murphy Method cassette, videotape, and DVD production. When you call I usually answer the phone, and I'm normally the one who sends out the orders.

2 thoughts on “No Time for Practice? Think Again!

  1. martha carlton

    Such good advice… I try to follow it, but, there are times when it is hard if not impossible.

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