A How-To Guide for Making the Most of Your Practice Time
Playing a musical instrument requires a daily commitment to practice, and ideas that will help you get the most out of the time that you spend. The follow article is a collection of ideas that will help young musicians to be the best players they can be in the least time possible.
1) Determine how much you can commit to practice. Perhaps your goal could be 20 minutes per day for 5 days a week. Consider placing an egg timer near by to help you keep track of your time.
2) Practice slowly. The fastest way to master a piece of music is to practice it slowly. Practice two measures at a time. When you have them mastered, practice the music four measures at a time. When you are playing them well, you will be ready to try the whole piece.
3) Practice in a quiet place. Find a place that is free of distractions. The more focused you are, the more you will get out of your practice time.
4) Set goals. Decide what you would like to get out of each practice session. If you are sure of what you would like to accomplish, there is a better chance you will accomplish something.
5) Decide when you will practice. Some students will benefit by keeping a regular schedule of practicing before school. Others may prefer to practice after school before dinner.
6) Balance you practice time. Begin with scales and other warm-up routines. Follow with new assignments. End with something you really enjoy playing.
7) Start with the hard parts. Focus on the more challenging sections of your new music before you try it all the way through. If you alway start from the beginning, you may never make it to the hard parts before you make a mistake.
8) Repeat, repeat, repeat. Practice a two measure passage until you can play it correctly. Then repeat the passage two more times until you really know it. The extra drill will help you to remember how you played it the next time you practice.
9) Practice with a metronome. Once you can play a passage correctly, consider practicing it with a metronome. Start the metronome at a slow tempo. Then increase the tempo slightly and play the passage again. Make the metronome click faster and faster on each repetition, until you reach the tempo at which the piece should be played. This type of challenge make practice interesting, and extremely effective.
10) Find a piece you like. You’ll practice more if you can practice a piece you like. Consider helping your teacher to find pieces that sound interesting to you. SheetMusicPlus.com is an excellent resource for sheet music and books for purchase. You can also search the internet for free sheet music. The following search terms will help you find what you are looking for: “free sheet music”, “free printable sheet music”, “free sheet music for piano”, “free sheet music for violin”.