// Effective tips for enjoyable and productive music practice. Practice smart for satisfying, tangible progress in less time, with less effort. Parents of young players can easily adapt these tips for their practice time. Some of these tips are equally effective for lesson time too! Convert a chore into a cheer!
Choose a Good Practice Space
Choose a place that feels comfortable to you; quiet, uninterrupted, a comfortable temperature, switch off devices and minimize distraction.
Choose a Good Time to Practice
Practice at the times of day you are most available to, practically and mentally. Try not to squeeze practice in to your day, it will be hard to focus if you are worried about time or have other concerns dispersing your attention.
Communicate Your Practice Needs
Talk with the people you share space with, let them know in advance, where, when and how long you will be practicing. You may need to work out the details with them so your practice works for them too.
Gather together ALL the tools you need before your start. Keep all your music gear well organised and tidy so it is always ready to be used.
Check in With Your Body
How do you feel? Have you eaten a snack recently? Are you hydrated? Make sure you are physically prepared for a productive practice.
Before you start practice, take a moment to breath deeply and relax. Enable yourself to re-orientate your focus for what is to come, leaving to the side what has passed.
Start each practice with warm up, stretching and shaking out your whole body,
pinpointing spots that are particularly relevant to your practice such as your neck/shoulders, forearms and hands. Before playing through your practice material play some simple scales, arpeggios and other warm up exercises.
Practice with Intent
Practicing mindlessly is not practice at all, you will likely have been set a length of time to practice by your teacher, most important is how you use your practice time. Set a schedule to work through your practice goals to make sure you have covered the material set by your teacher.
Have a Practice Goal and Know How to Achieve It
Practicing without a goal is often a waste of time, producing little progress, this can have a negative impact on your experience of playing. Have a goal set before you start. How to achieve a goal is just as important as setting one, the classic axiom is that if a goal is too complex, break it down into smaller, doable parts. Keep breaking goals down until they are achievable and build from up there.
Don't Be Afraid of Making Mistakes
During both practice and lesson time frustration is inevitable, but this feeling is transitory, it is important to remember that to learn we must make mistakes. This is the point of practice. Take some deep breaths and shake it out. Remember to break down a really hard step in to smaller steps.
Practice Smart, Not Hard
If something isn't working, doing it over and over is not going to help, you will often only reinforce mistakes. Sheer effort is no substitute for smart practice and will leave you feeling dissatisfied. Instead, identify the issue and problem solve to correct it. This may mean taking it more slowly or breaking down the piece into smaller, more
manageable parts. If you cannot find a solution contact your teacher for advice, don't wait until your next lesson.
Record Your Practice
This is extremely important. It will be hard to know what to practice today if you did not make useful notes yesterday. Make notes on each days practice, what worked? What didn't work? Where are you stuck? Notes are needed at lessons time too, so you remember all that you need to work on during practice. As well as written notes, audio and video recordings can be extremely useful.
If you consistently and consciously get in touch with your passion for playing and the value it has in your life, then practice and lessons will be a natural and exciting choice. Surround yourself with your musical loves and memorabilia, go to concerts, perform often, and listen to music you love. Make friends with similar interests and inspire each other.
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Learning how to practice well can benefit many areas of your life outside music, you will be learning life skills such as preparedness, time management, problem solving and accountability, how to practice well, as well as learning how to be self motivated and how to accept struggle with grace.
I wish you well in your study and musical journey, I hope that these tips will be of help to you. If you enjoyed reading don't forget to subscribe, comment and share!