Arts & Entertainment, Music

Practice Essentials

Itzhak Perlman

Lesson time 20:06 min

Practice is an essential part of growing as a violinist. Mr. Perlman discusses his methods of practicing that help improve technical ability.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Habits Stay With You • Practice Slowly • Practice With Rhythms • Études • Adapt to the Difficulty • Sight-Reading • The Contagious Effect


[CLICKS AND ZIP SOUNDS] [STRING PLUCKS] - When you practice, you want to have results. [PLAYS CHORDS] You want cleanliness. You want articulation. [MUSIC - MAX BRUCH, "VIOLIN CONCERTO NO. 1 IN G MINOR, OP. 26"] When you're a kid, bad habits are very, very easily learned as well as good habits. So the habits as a youngster, if somebody teaches you properly, always stays with you. And if you get a habit that's a little bit like that, like if you play funny, like we sang the Tower of Pisa, you know, you lean over there, it stays with you. And it's very, very difficult to change. I remember my old teacher used to say that he always loved to teach young people-- younger people, like 12-year-old, 13-year-old, even 10-year-old-- because they're very flexible. When you teach them, they learn something, and it can stay. I would say to my students, especially when somebody brings back a piece of music that they played when they were, let's say, seven or eight years old, and you are now 14 and 15, you bring back the same piece of music, isn't it interesting? And I find that in my case, too, that the mistakes that you made when you were a seven- and eight-year-old stay with your brain because your brain is like a Xerox machine, you know? When you do something and it's wrong, for example, a simple thing as intonation, for example. If you play a note out of tune when you were eight years old, it's guaranteed when you take that same piece, when you are 14, 15, or 16, that note automatically will be out of tune unless you fix that. So it's fascinating. So for me, oh, it's almost like to bring back a piece three, four years later is always challenging because you want to make sure that you erase all the bad copies. I always say that when you repeat something badly for a while, you have a copy in your brain. Then you have to make sure that since you cannot actually erase a copy, you want to make sure that you have good copies. If you have like 10 bad copies, you want to make sure that you have 20 good ones to erase what you did in a bad way. [METRONOME TICKING] Your brain has to have a chance to soak what you're trying to do. I always give an example of you take a sponge-- a dried sponge-- and you put it in the water. If you put the sponge in the water and immediately take it out of the water, there's not going to be much water in that sponge. But if you put the sponge in the water and then let it just be there, when you get it out, it'll be full of water. That's what our brain is. Our brain is like a sponge. If we do it quickly, the brain doesn't have the chance to soak the repetition of what we do. The repetition, whether it's a repetition of a bold stroke, whether it's a repetition of a passage in the left hand, that's why the important thing is to practice very slowly. Everybody can say, oh, well, you know, that's not a big deal. We can do that. Very funny. We get hypnotized by practicing slowly. And without knowing ...

About the Instructor

The world’s reigning virtuoso violin player, Itzhak Perlman performs for presidents, royals, and classical music lovers around the world. Now the beloved Juilliard instructor and 15-time Grammy Award winner brings his passion for teaching to a wide audience for the first time. Learn fundamental techniques, practice strategies, and how to add richness and depth to your sound. Give your most dynamic performance yet.

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Itzhak Perlman

In his first-ever online class, virtuoso violin player Itzhak Perlman breaks down his techniques for improved practice and powerful performances.

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