Fellow double bassist Matt Frisch has a great post on practicing, and it’s worth a read for anyone who is engrossed with instrumental study:
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about practicing, and coming up with bizarre theories and analogies as I often do. I think that practicing is a little like cleaning your room – both tasks never seem to quite get finished, and both can be a bit of a chore, even though we’re much happier after we’ve done them well.
Also, just as the way you clean and organize your room says an enormous amount about you (Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink has a great chapter on this subject!), practicing can be an extension of your personality. In the past, I’ve been the type of person who keeps things in a state of semi-disarray, just messy enough that if someone is coming over I can quickly shove everything into drawers and closets and create an illusion of neatness. I’d like to be more organized – not only is it stressful to have to shove things in drawers all the time (stressful for me, as well as the drawers), but it’s pretty obvious when someone lives this way. You don’t have to poke around much to find the chaos beneath my veneer of order – just ask me for a pair of scissors, or where I put my keys!