Divide your practice into hour-long chunks, says violinist Sarah Chang

The American musician advocates taking breaks between practice sessions

SarahChang

‘If I have a lot of repertoire to learn, I’ll practise for up to eight hours in a day. But I never practise for more than an hour at a time: I’ll do an hour then eat something, do another hour and watch some TV, do another hour and so on. For me an hour is the maximum I can focus properly.
‘Physically the violin is a very awkward instrument for your arms, neck and back. It’s not something you should work on for ten hours a day. I get regular massages, to keep myself aligned. You have to be smart about the quality of your practice rather than the quantity.’

Watch Sarah Chang give a showstopping performance of Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Plácido Domingo.

Read violinist Nikolaj Znaider’s blog on the importance of practising basics.

Photo: Cliff Watt

Read Sarah Chang’s Practice Diary in The Strad’s April 2015 issue, out now. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial. To purchase single issues click here.