Language practice and Music practice

I just came up with an idea that has really helped me with motivation. I used to practice violin by the clock. I would literally look at the time when I started and count the hours I spent practicing. I tried this with studying French and it has REALLY helped. Just like when practicing music, once I get started I sometimes become hooked, and then I find it hard to stop. Also, I am trying out ideas from that book about the first 20 hours, basically committing to 20 hours of French in a two week period. This has helped too.

I love reading people’s tips and tricks of the trade. It is fascinating what we can learn from each other.

For us mere mortals who have never had the discipline of practising by the hour, we could begin with a kitchen timer set to an ambitious 20 minutes’ practice at a time (or even 10 minutes if we are really new to it all).

That book about the first 20 hours??? Is that yet another application of Pareto’s 20 : 80 ratio?

Somewhat related – when I am working, I run a mindfulness bell set to chime randomly every 5-7 minutes. When it chimes I stop and read my target language for a half minute, or full minute. It gives me a short break, and lets me give full concentration for a short time. It also gives me a full hour during the working day of concentrated effort. It helps if you are the boss.

The book is called, The First 20 Hours, How to Learn Anything Fast, by Josh Kaufman. Mr. Kaufman has a lecture about it on Ted Talks.

Wow, that is a really interesting new idea! I have heard that short snatches of study can really help.

I count the total amount of time I spend. Sometimes I sub-categorize how much time I spent with one activity but that was too inconvenient. For Spanish I´ll have 300 hours accomplished as of tomorrow. What´s been accomplished in such little time is fascinating.

I think that might help too. When I was learning violin, I used to just count by the day, and I really tried to practice every day. I just last week estimated the total hours spent learning violin, and came up with a very rough estimate of 25,000 hours! This was, of course, over about 10 years.
When my husband took flying lessons, they counted the total number of hours in the air. I thought that was a good way to keep track of time spent learning other things too. So I think I will try this. After the first 20 hours I could keep counting.
Counting time is weird in a way, but I think it works for music students, and most of them do it.
One general rule that we all acknowledged in music school…If you want to play well, practice two hours a day. If you want to get really good, practice four hours a day. We all felt that four hours a day over an extended period of time would get you to a professional level.

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25,000 hours? You must be a real Maestra by now! My brother is also a professional violinist. I grew up playing the cello alongside him. He should have been at it for roughly 11 - 12 years himself now. I know the kind of work that entails. Good job doing what I called quits on!

This thread is a wonderful example of how members help members! I can’t give roses from the forum (don’t ask me why, it’s in the lap of LingQ gods), so I shall hop over to your respective walls and do the deed from there. Thank you! (I don’t know why I am so particularly enchanted by this exchange but it makes me smile whenever I read through the comments.)

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I count too. Minimum 2 hours of listening a day with a target of 500 hours by December 31.