The Talent Code

How to Grow a String Player From the Ground

  • Great String Playing Isn’t Born, It’s Grown.

    Here is How: 

    Part I. Deep Practice

    Practice right at the edge of what you can already do and where you want to be. Be willing to make mistakes. Slow down. Correct those mistakes by breaking the problem down into small pieces. Try again.

     Think of your brain like a country made up of towns and roads. One town is in charge of breathing, one town is in charge of moving your knee, one town is in charge of moving your left pinky. Everything your body can do has its own town. Some towns are more important than other towns. Breathing is more important than whistling. So your brain makes the road to the town in charge of breathing into a nicer faster road: A highway. All roads in your brain start out as dirt roads, but when you do something enough times your brain decides that it needs to make a highway to there.

     When you first learn to read you spend hours going over letters and sounds so that when you first see the word CAT you have to sound it out slowly cccc – aaahhh- tttaa. You did it slowly and eventually your brain decided to build a highway there so you now just see CAT and read instantly CAT without much extra thought.

    If I want to get good at something like bowing across a string, I need for my brain and body to slowly do the motions that make a good bow movement. If I do those motions slowly enough times, eventually my brain will build a highway there and I eventually I can do it instantly without much extra thought.

    The Rules of Deep Practice:

    Chunking – slow down, break it down into smaller parts. Don’t play the whole thing until you can imagine yourself doing it.

    Repeat it – spend time repeating only when you are at the edge of what you can barely do. Total amount of deep practice kids can sustain is 20 minutes.

    Learn to feel it when you are in the zone of Deep Practice. You might start calling it. Your groove.

    Part II. Ignition

    Passion provides the motivation to keep practicing.

    Listen to string music on youtube, spotify, and/or Pandora. – There are lots of cool types of string music other than your typical classical.

    Students at Central Dauphin exactly like you have been able to be successful at String Playing. They just did the stuff listed above. You need to think: if they can do it, why can’t I?

    See a vision of yourself playing your instrument really well in the future.

    Our school orchestra is a group of achievers – you know that you belong there.

Last Modified on June 3, 2019