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Effective Practicing

May 1, 2018

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5 Healthy Practice Habits for Young Musicians

January 10, 2018

 

Whether you are a beginner or seasoned musician, nothing can make you feel more accomplished than playing a piece of music fluently and confidently. To realize this outcome, one must PRACTICE. The question at hand is, how much practice is enough, and how do you practice? Time restraints are often sighted as reasons for not practicing, but the problem is far more rudimentary. Students often lack the foresight that is required to tackle a task, in this case, a piece of music. Students often think that they should be able to play it a couple of times and be “good”. This is not that case! Not even close.

 

5 Healthy Practice Habits for Young Musicians

 

1. DURATION

 

Keep practice sessions limited to a duration that allows you to stay focused. This may be as short as 10 minutes for young students, and as long as 60 minutes for older individuals. Students who keep track of their practice time are more aware of how long it takes them to learn something new and likely more apt to use their practice time more efficiently.

 

2. TIMING

 

Keep track of times during the day when you tend to have the most energy. This may be first thing in the morning, or right after school. Try to do your practicing during these productive periods as these are the times at which you will be able to focus and think most clearly.

 

3. GOALS

 

Keep track of your practice goals and what you discover during your practicing sessions. The key to getting into the “zone” when practicing is to be constantly striving to have a clear idea of the sound you want to produce. Consciously practicing your piece with the correct articulations, whether they be phrasing, staccatos and dynamics. Creating the right “sound” is the ultimate pay off. Practicing SLOWLY, playing each note with the right intention will get you to finish much faster than if you muddle quickly and sloppily through your piece.

 

4. TAKE A BREAK

 

Taking a break from your regular repertoire to revisit old favourites or explore other genres can be a great boost for the mind and spirit.

 

5. PLAY FOR AN AUDIENCE

 

Preparing to play for an audience is a very important part of developing consistent practice habits. Students who regularly perform for family and friends or engage in community performance tend to have a stronger passion for music.

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