The new year is upon us, and perhaps you have made a new year’s resolution that is extremely popular with musicians: to practice more!
But what’s the point of practicing if it isn’t effective? Here are some tips to ensure that your practice time is well-spent:
Get a calendar and create a practicing schedule. Try to figure out times that are reasonable with your schedule, and figure out what time of day you practice the best — some students prefer practicing right after school, while others prefer practicing at night.
When making your practicing schedule from above, make sure to set goals for each practice session. Simply setting time aside won’t help you make progress unless you have goals to work towards. Setting goals will make your practice sessions more focused and therefore more productive!
Designate a specific, quiet area for practicing. This will help you get into the mindset for playing your instrument every time you enter that space. In addition, minimizing distractions in your practicing area is much more efficient.
Ensure that you have a sharpened pencil with an eraser, and write on your music! You will never remember all the details you discovered during your practice sessions unless you write them down.
Have a tuner and metronome. These small devices can help improve the quality of your notes and rhythm.
Start by warming up with scales. Warm ups are extremely important because they help you adjust to various conditions on different days, and they establish a routine to help you get in the mindset of practicing.
Address and correct errors immediately after you play them — don’t wait until you finish the piece because you might forget!
Break up difficult lines into small parts. Start by playing one part extremely slow, and then speed it up until you reach the desired speed. Then, start on the next small section with the same process.
Don’t always start at the beginning of pieces. Break your pieces into sections and start with a different one each day. This will prevent getting tired and only practicing the beginnings of pieces.
Listen to your music online! Simply listening to someone else play the piece will be a huge help you with rhythm and phrasing. Take advantage of your resources!
Hopefully, these tips will help you become an expert at practicing. Good luck!