We all know that practice is essential to becoming better at playing your instrument, and yet it’s often hard to get started or to know the best way to practice. Try following these tips to improve your playing and enjoy your practicing more.
- It’s not about the time you spend practicing – it’s about making your practice count! 10 minutes of targeted, meaningful practice is better than 20 minutes of aimless, unfocused practice. Be realistic about what you can do in the time that you have and set small, measurable goals to get there.
- Always warm up! Like working out, warming up when playing your instrument is essential. Use the time to focus on your breathing and your technique, and have a goal in mind. Struggling on a particular passage of music? Pick a scale that is similar and warm up with that! Use this time to get “in the mood” and enjoy playing.
- Always have a goal – decide what you are trying to accomplish and work on that! Having trouble with a piece of music? Don’t just play it over and over again. Try to identify what the problem is and target that. Is it a rhythm problem? Is it jumping from one note to another more quickly? Zeroing in on the problem and focusing on it gets better results and is a better use of your time than playing the whole piece over and over again.
- Write on your music. If something is going to help you, write it down! Write down your breathing, or circle a note if it’s giving you trouble. Just write in pencil please 🙂
- Reward your successes. Didn’t feel like practicing but did it anyways? Finally nailed down that line that’s been giving you trouble? Hit the high notes successfully? Finally learned how to play Megalovania? Give yourself a high five! Record yourself, or show off to your teacher! See if your parents will give you an extra half hour of tech time! Best of all, hand in your practice sheets and get a treat!!
Practicing is hard to do, but you’ll find that you enjoy your instrument so much more when you can play it well. Remember to play what interests you and you will find it so much more rewarding.