What is HIIP? (Introduction to High Intensity Interval Practice)

Get practice results in as little as 5 minutes a day!

Recently, I started working a full-time job outside of music and struggled to find time and energy to practice bass. Then, I read (in this book) about a teacher who successfully taught a time-starved medical student to practice in just two minutes a day! Inspired, I set a goal to practice over twice as much – five minutes a day… I borrowed techniques from my Tabata-style workouts (a type of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)). I dubbed my resulting method High Intensity Interval Practice, with the appropriate acronym HIIP.

Like HIIT, HIIP uses short bursts of intense effort punctuated by brief periods of rest. It is designed to produced maximal results in minimal time. If you’re like me – extremely busy with other time commitments – then this system is for you. What’s more, the it’s completely customizable for different instruments, schedules, levels, and interests. I’m writing this series of blog posts to hone my method and share it with others experiencing similar struggles.

To get the most out of your HIIP, you need to commit to practice five minutes a day, five days a week, for five weeks in a row. At just over two hours, this is manageable for even the most time-starved people. Each 5-minute “workout” will target 1-4 bars of music. Even with the minimal commitment, it’s still possible to learn a 32-bar tune in that time! Over the next five weeks, I’ll take you step-by-step through the process of creating a HIIP routine that works for you.

In Week 1 (this week), we’ll cover basics of and preparation for HIIP. Next week (Week 2), we’ll start learning how to construct practice “workouts” and use looping techniques. After that (Week 3), we’ll delve into the process of developing musicianship – such as timekeeping, playing melodies, and soloing. For Week 4, we’ll learn how to apply principles of HIIP into musical learning. Finally, during Week 5 we’ll explore applications of this method in rehearsal and performance.

While you won’t start practicing until next week, you can still set a timer for five minutes today and write out answers to the following questions:

  • Which instrument(s) do I want to (re)learn or get better at playing?
  • What are my primary goals – what kinds of things do I want to be able to do musically?
  • Which tunes do I want to learn to help me achieve my goals?

Tomorrow, we’ll start our HIIP journey by discussing instruments and other gear.

Author: Leah Pogwizd

Bassist and Instructor

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