I’ve been taking a sight reading course, and in all honesty, it’s the hardest course I’ve taken since I started playing bass last year. It involves practice drills in which I have to read and play long sheets of music containing random notes that don’t make any sense together: such as jumping from the low F (E1) to the middle C (G5). I have to do this while keeping up with the tempo, eyes locked on the music sheet, and not looking at the neck. The purpose of this is to eventually be able to immediately play any piece of music that’s handed to me, just like the session musicians do.
It’s difficult to make it through an entire page (64 bars) without making mistakes, so I do them over and over again. The goal is to conquer one level, and then move up to the next. I’m determined (obsessed?) to get through each class and complete this course.
Today, I practiced for 5 hours straight with only a few short breaks. I finally got to the point where my brain felt like it was turning to mush, and had to stop. I was no longer making any progress. I quit the sight reading drills and switched to playing some scales and few bass licks that I know, just so I could finish on a positive note. I cracked open a beer, and sank into the recliner. Tomorrow is another day, and I’ll get back to the drills.
That’s when I decided to do some research, asking the question, “How many hours of practice is too much?”. I came across this very interesting article, which I would like to share with everyone here.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about your own practice regiments and what you think is the maximum time you should practice each day.