remussjhj01
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I'm starting at Trinity Laban in September, and I'm so so excited, but I'm concerned about the workload. Everyone says you need to practice for like, 4 hours a day, as well as doing any academic work. Is that true? I'm not used to practising for that long. Does anyone have any advise for working up to it?
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mike23mike
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(Original post by remussjhj01)
I'm starting at Trinity Laban in September, and I'm so so excited, but I'm concerned about the workload. Everyone says you need to practice for like, 4 hours a day, as well as doing any academic work. Is that true? I'm not used to practising for that long. Does anyone have any advise for working up to it?
Congrats for getting in. The short answer is yes, you will need to do, on average, 3-4 hours of practice a day. See the maths below:

I checked out the site for Trinity Laban and read that a 4-year programme equates to 4800 hours of taught and private study. That equates to 1200 hours a year.

For 2020-21 the year starts 14th Sept 2020 and ends 28th June 2021 (assuming no teaching in induction week commencing 7th Sept). As best as I can figure that comes out to 30 weeks in the academic year (excluding holidays and assessment weeks).

Thus, you will have 40 hours a week of either tuition or private study (1200 hours a year/30 weeks). Typically at uni for social science and arts courses (anything that is not science or engineering-based), the 40-hours will breakdown 25% taught:75% private study. For engineering and science topics it's closer to 50:50

That means, for a typical week, you can expect about 10 hours of classes/private tuition and the other 30 hours a week you are expected to study and practice. Thus, 3-4 hours of practice a day seems about right.
Last edited by mike23mike; 1 week ago
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artful_lounger
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I would note beyond that some psychology studies suggest that 4 hours of deliberate practice per day was found to correlate with better performance by (music) and long term development of ability (and often, hence, career) in conservatoire students from a conservatoire in I think Austria. This didn't include e.g. lecture attendance etc, and was specifically deliberate practice i.e. in focusing on practicing or developing specific skills in each session rather than just sort of randomly performing for that period. It didn't have to be all in one go though...they might've done e.g. 1 hour in the morning, 2 hours in the afternoon, and 1 hour in the evening or something (it is probably more productive to do several smaller chunks than trying to stay focused for 4 hours, which would be very difficult even under perfect conditions - humans aren't really designed for that kind of focus! Also lecture timetables may not allow that anyway practically).

That said, I think the study has its critics, and I can't really comment on it's validity personally since I am not a performing artist! I think it's probably a reasonable to aim for a couple hours of practice a day, but bear in mind that you can and should break that up into more digestible chunks, and you don't need to do the same activities in each period of practice (this is also how I have tried to arrange my academic work previously, e.g. spending half an hour on grammar then having a short break, then an hour doing translation work then taking a longer break for a while before going back, for example).
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mike23mike
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
I would note beyond that some psychology studies suggest that 4 hours of deliberate practice per day was found to correlate with better performance by (music) and long term development of ability (and often, hence, career) in conservatoire students from a conservatoire in I think Austria. This didn't include e.g. lecture attendance etc, and was specifically deliberate practice i.e. in focusing on practicing or developing specific skills in each session rather than just sort of randomly performing for that period. It didn't have to be all in one go though...they might've done e.g. 1 hour in the morning, 2 hours in the afternoon, and 1 hour in the evening or something (it is probably more productive to do several smaller chunks than trying to stay focused for 4 hours, which would be very difficult even under perfect conditions - humans aren't really designed for that kind of focus! Also lecture timetables may not allow that anyway practically).

That said, I think the study has its critics, and I can't really comment on it's validity personally since I am not a performing artist! I think it's probably a reasonable to aim for a couple hours of practice a day, but bear in mind that you can and should break that up into more digestible chunks, and you don't need to do the same activities in each period of practice (this is also how I have tried to arrange my academic work previously, e.g. spending half an hour on grammar then having a short break, then an hour doing translation work then taking a longer break for a while before going back, for example).
I could not find that piece of research but I did a quick search on Google Scholar. The OP can look at this research into 26 US and 30 Korean piano students and their teachers. The researcher found that the common practice approaches used by both sets of students were, "slow practice, isolated sectional practice, repetition, practice with each hand separately, variation in tempo, and self evaluation. Teachers . . . added the techniques of analysis, mental practice, and experimentation."

Here are some practice tips from this paper:

1. Begin each practice session
with a few technical exercises.
2. Play all the pieces being
worked on.
3. Play through each piece
again, this time in slow
motion.
4. Break the problems into
smallest components.
5. Play [the music] again.
6. Work on interpretation and
details
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by mike23mike)
I could not find that piece of research but I did a quick search on Google Scholar. The OP can look at this research into 26 US and 30 Korean piano students and their teachers. The researcher found that the common practice approaches used by both sets of students were, "slow practice, isolated sectional practice, repetition, practice with each hand separately, variation in tempo, and self evaluation. Teachers . . . added the techniques of analysis, mental practice, and experimentation."

Here are some practice tips from this paper:

1. Begin each practice session
with a few technical exercises.
2. Play all the pieces being
worked on.
3. Play through each piece
again, this time in slow
motion.
4. Break the problems into
smallest components.
5. Play [the music] again.
6. Work on interpretation and
details
The original research was by K. Anders Erisson; I was reading a survey article discussing his work generally a while back so I'm not sure exactly which paper the 4 hours thing came from (that might've been a media spin even D: ).
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