Originally Posted by Given to Fly
With classical guitar it seems that once you get to a certain point (professer level) you don't practice scales much anymore or technique because you have mastered it and you have it down .
I have to disagree with that statement. When you get to 'professor level' you don't just stop practicing technique and stuff. Once you have a technique mastered doesn't mean you'll be able to keep it at that level if you don't practice it - or use it regularly. Try it, get really really good at something (say sweep picking) then don't use that technique for 6 months and try and use it again - I guarantee you'll not be able to use it to the same standard or with the same confidence without doing some practice on it again. It's the same for non-technical musical issues too - for example, if you really work on a piece and manage to really extract amazing music out of it (I'm talking phrasing, sensitivity, atmosphere, feeling) and then leave that piece for a few months, when you come back to it, you'll not be able to play it with the same level of feeling and musicality even though your brain remembers and knows what you are aiming for.
Even if you play your instrument all day every day it's doubtful that you'll encompass all techniques/finger patterns/phrasing options etc and so your ability to use some of these things to the high level you once were able to, are going to slip as you don't use them. That is unless you practice them!
Like any skill at a high level, once it's at that high level, you need to keep it there, it won't just stay at that level because you can do it 'now'. World champion gymnasts don't stop practicing their tumbles for hours once they can do them. Olympic Gold medallists don't just stop training because they have got to the top. If they stop practicing, they will no longer stay at the top. To keep on being able to do skills to the same standard, you need to practice.
You think the world's best virtuoso violinists don't need to practice their technique and scales?! WRONG, they practice them more than anyone else... and that's exactly why
they stay at that top level.