I often tell students that if their practicing sounds good to people at home, then they're not doing it right.
Because, if it sounds beautiful at home, then it's not really practicing. It's performing.
Which, we need to practice performing, too. But it's different from the practice required to get the notes learned, get the nuances right, get everything to a polished state for performance.
And it requires lots...and lots...and lots...of repetition.
What I fondly refer to as broken record practicing.
Practicing small bits with dozens of repetitions. It gets tedious at times, but it's the fastest route to awesome.
So when people say, "It must be so lovely around your house when you're practicing," I respond with, "Oh, I beg to differ!"
Unless my neighbors take delight in hearing the same two measures of music fifty times in a row. But let's face it...that sounds like the beginning of a serial killer movie.
I often tell students to aim for three times in a row when they're learning new music, or making an improvement. My magic number is 25.
That's right. 25 times in a row. And if I get 24 good ones and screw up on the last one, I have to do another 25.
You might be thinking, "That's sadistic!"
But let's think about it.
When I can play something 25 times (or more) in a row. It sticks. And I mean, it really sticks. I can have two crap weeks, and still be able to play it reasonably well when I come back to it.
Compare that to the way 80% of the world practices.
Run throughs riddled with mistakes, pieces that take two months longer to learn than necessary, and some pieces that never come to fruition at all because, let's face it...repetition gets boring.
And that approach sounds a whole lot more sadistic to me.
Broken record practicing...if you drive at least one person crazy at home, you know you're doing it right.