You probably already know how important regular practice is for improving your skills as a musician. However, we’ve come across many aspiring musicians who are frustrated because they feel that regardless of how much time they spend on “practising”, nothing has really changed.
The root of this common problem is our understanding about what practising really is – many musicians mistake playing for practising. While playing is purely for fun, practising requires discipline, repetition, systematic performance, and perseverance, all combined with the goal of reaching the next level of competency and mastering an instrument. Practice isn’t always pleasant. It’s real, hard work.
How can you make the most of your practice time and take your musical skills to the next level? Try out these 4 practice techniques.
1. Don’t skip the warmup.
Just like an athlete warms up before their game or match, it’s extremely important to warm up before your practice session. This sounds like a simple thing to do, yet it’s often neglected by many musicians. Since you’ll be asking a lot from your body, without warming up, you run the risk of having serious injuries and health issues. So don’t jump right into hardcore music exercises. Take time to stretch your body and begin slowly.
2. Start journaling.
If you haven’t been keeping a regular practice journal, get yourself started right away. You’ll be spellbound by its simple, yet powerful magic. Journaling keeps you organised and goal-oriented. Before each practice session, make a note of your objectives and list the activities you want to include. Revisit your list and make notes at the end of each session. This technique gives you a good sense of direction and accomplishment that random, aimless practice often misses.
3. Choose musical pieces that will stretch you.
We only truly appreciate the musical pieces that we love and quickly forget ones we dislike or that we’re forced to play by others. If you don’t enjoy what you play, you’ll slowly lose dedication and interest.
However, it’s equally crucial to pick musical pieces that will educate and challenge you. Even though it’s tempting to stick with what you’re familiar with and feel comfortable playing, try venturing out. Pick a new style, genre, or repertoire by a composer you have never worked on before. This will enrich your knowledge of music, help you better understand your abilities, and train your musical muscles so you won’t feel so intimidated when tackling new challenges.
4. Record yourself.
Ever noticed how your recorded voice sounds different than the voice you hear in your head? The same is true of your instrument. You can’t fully focus on your sound when you’re also playing. Don’t just depend on feedback and advice from your teacher. Record yourself while you practise.
Make sure you also keep your recordings and review them over time to track your progress. Trust your common sense – it’s one of the best ways to refine your musical skills on your own. Hearing yourself from an objective angle helps you quickly notice that one error your teacher has been pointing out for weeks, yet you haven’t been able to pick up.
Now that you’ve learned about these practice techniques, it’s time to get down to the real work of putting them into action. We hope you’ll get lots of mileage out of these strategies and make even faster progress in your musical journey.
What’s your favorite practice tip or technique?
Share with us in the comments below.
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