Efficient music practice, focus

7 tips for efficient music practice

Do you feel guilty you're not practicing music everyday? Read here how to practice music effectively

1. Don’t practice too long (or feel guilty you don’t have the time).

Do you know the feeling that you procrastinate your practicing for days and that you feel you need to practice an hour, but you don’t have time, so you don’t practice? The good news is that it’s more efficient to practice 10-20 minutes a day than one hour just one time. If you want to practice one hour, feel of course free to do it.

7 Points for practicing music more efficiently
duur pianoles duration piano lesson agenda

2. Plan your practice time.

Now that you know 10-20 minutes is enough, plan your practice time, like you would plan a sports training. Think beforehand in which hour you have time to practice 10-20 minutes.

3. Set short- and long-term goals

Think of what you would like to reach with your music in half a year or a year. You can discuss with your teacher if this is goal is doable. Then make smaller steps to get there, they will give you a direction of what to practice.

short and long-term goals
efficienter muziek studeren

4. Decide beforehand what you want to practice.

If you have only 10 minutes of practice time, it’s better to know already what you want to practice, so you can use your full focus on practising. Decide the song or piece, decide if you want to work on it for example musically or technically or work on the interpretation. Do you want to work on the whole piece, a part or do exercises?

efficient music practice varied practice

5. Vary the ways you practice.

Give yourself some clear assignments and vary them. Like: play the music slower, sing this part in chest voice and then head voice, change the rhythm of the song, play it with different fingerings, etc. You can always ask your teacher for input. The longer you have lessons, the more ways to practice you have.

Efficient music practice, focus

6. Focus on the parts that don’t go smoothly.

It’s a waste of time to play through all the piece every time you practice if there are parts that are still difficult for you. Isolate them and practice them separately.

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7. Don’t blame yourself for your mistakes

Making mistakes is part of the learning process. The more you focus on how bad it is you make the mistake, the less likely you will solve your problem with the passage. Use point 5 and 6 to try to improve yourself. If you can’t solve it, ask your teachers for other ways to practice.

Ask a teacher for help with efficient music practice

To be able to think of new ways to practice your music, you need a qualified music teacher. Your teacher can help you to point out where your weaker points are that you have to work on (point 3, 4 and 6). You will also get new exercises to vary your practice (point 5). With efficient music practice you will improve quicker on your instrument. This will make practicing music everyday more fun.

Further reading on efficient music practice

  • This book is a very nice and easy way to give you more tips on how to practice music effectively: Susan Williams: Quality Practice
  • In our journal you can keep track of practicing your music everyday: Your Music Journal (only available in The Netherlands)

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