The Two Minute Practice Method



  • Posts: 4,777

    I keep wanting to hit the "funny" button but... Ok I'm throwing in the towel... someone else explain me the joke please...

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Posts: 283

    I think the joke is, it took him ten minutes to watch the two minute method.

  • Posts: 4,777

    Well, I was thinking something along those lines, yes but...never mind. Thanks man.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Posts: 4,777

    Something I'll do sometimes when I'm trying to get myself to play something that's too fast at the moment and gives me trouble is this: I'll break it into smaller manageable pieces like I described in the article but the way I practice these sometimes is to play one short phrase at this high tempo, rest 1-2 seconds, play the next phrase, rest, play the next phrase etc... after doing this for some time I then seem to be able to start connecting the phrases together continuously.

    I'd be curious to hear if this is something people are already doing?

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • nomadgtrnomadgtr Colorado Bumgarner, Marin, Holo, Barault
    Posts: 123

    Yes, I call it chunking. Breaking it down into easily digestible building blocks then linking them. I think many of the pros do this too. I think it's an intuitive way of learning really. I remember doing that with big band jazz ensembles in college. I usually start slow until I hit a snag then make that my first chunk. Sometimes I try to master all the chunks slow then connect. Other times I just go for one chunk at a time getting it to full speed then go to the next. I like to be flexible in the way I learn so I try not to be set in my ways. Keeps the mind fresh.

  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited April 2021 Posts: 3,320

    Buco, I have not been doing that but I will try based on what you said. I was thinking I'd break a phrase into makeable chunks and then try to play a chunk with the first few notes of the next chunk or something like that to find out where my weak spots are and try to connect the chunks that way. I'm probably not explaining it very well but I'm finding I can play the chunks but not the whole phrase so I need to figure out a way to connect them in baby steps???

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,314

    Buco, that is interesting. I know in swimming, for practice many people will swim a "broken" distance at race pace. So, if you were trying to swim a 200, you would break it into 4 -50m segments. Swim each segment at the race pace you want to achieve for the overall 200. The idea is that eventually linking those 4 segments would get you the full distance at the desired speed.

    I'm wondering if anyone has ever tried the "chunking" method backwards. Typically, when we learn from start to finish, the early parts are played more often and become more familiar. When you start with your last chunk first, and then progress towards the first chunk in reverse order, it means that you are always flowing towards something more familiar and more practiced. I would do that with memorization of text, but haven't applied it much to music.

  • Posts: 4,777

    @Bones that's it really. Sometimes I'll overlap the small chunks but not always. Depends on the challenge. And yes, sometimes I have trouble linking the chunks together at the high tempo. My fingers just don't wanna go there. Then what helps is to play them at the target tempo but have a short rest between them. Pretty much what @nomadgtr described. For whatever reason that seems to get the gears moving to link them after a few passes with rests. @billyshakes yes, I've heard about going backwards. It can happen where you keep practicing the first half or even the first third so it's a good way to make sure that area get it's share of practice. The two minutes thing solves that in my case, I usually move on to the next phrase if I'm practicing something longer so everything is equally covered. Never heard about that in racing, that's really awesome.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,154

    Something also worth noting is sort of the opposite of what this article explores, which would be a limited period of total immersion (I'm talking about 12 hours a day practiing, maybe even more.) I think this is actually a pretty common phenomenon among many pros (Charlie Parker's bio comes to mind and also the year or so Django spent recovering from his injuries.) While the "golden age" of jazz made it possible to make a living doing this, it was also a lot of work and I'd imagine playing multiple shows a day and constantly touring would keep your chops in good shape, but would leave little time for developing new ideas and skills.

    Most of the technique I have on the guitar was a result of two periods like this (one in my early 20s for about a year) and again around age 30 for 9 months. I had few distractions during these periods, and most importantly no day job or school. The technique, repertoire, and improv skills I developed during these short, but intense periods kept me playing at a decent level all these years with little extra practice. But now with the pandemic I got another period like this, albeit not quite total immersion but enough to really internalize some new stuff.


  • edited April 2021 Posts: 4,777

    Robert Johnson too. Famously disappeared (sold his soul to the devil) for about a year and came back to blow people away.

    I'm positive (in a totally unscientific way) that significant gains would be made at any age if a person was putting in 10-12 hours a day for a year straight. But who has that opportunity? Just about the only positive thing that came out of this pandemic is that I've seen a pretty good improvement in my playing. My practice time was and is about the same but I was able to focus on technique and improvising specifically. Because the band was on hold so I wasn't practicing the repertoire which was the main focus of my limited time. That plus this little hack of setting the timer that, pretty much instantly, immerses me into the activity.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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