Practice makes perfect.
You’ve heard that saying so many times by now it has probably lost its meaning! Like anything in life, if you want to get good at an instrument, it takes practice and time.
But what is the best way to practice music?
We’ve compiled a list of 10 helpful tips on how to get more out of your practice sessions. So sit back, relax, and enjoy!
1) MAKE A MUSIC ROOM
First on our list is putting together the perfect practice room. You should devote a section of your room or even an entire room, strictly for practicing.
Make sure to put anything in there that would help you better focus and minimize distractions. For example, a computer for looking up tabs and recording yourself, a speaker, paper, pens, and of course, water.
2) GET IN THE MOOD FOR MUSIC
Try not to force this part! You won’t always be in the mood to practice. But sometimes it’s easy to to get yourself in practice mood, even if you’re not feeling super motivated.
Listen to some of your favorite songs, hold your instrument, and remember what first got you into playing music. Usually, some of these small but effective tips can snap someone right into the proper mood for playing some music.
3) PRACTICE/WARM UP
Next, make sure to practice scales and warm up before jumping right into a difficult piece. Scales are your bread and butter when it comes to warming up. Once you’ve warmed up with some scales, try playing a song you know like the back of your hand. After a quick warm-up, you’ll be ready to go and your mind and body will be fully in music mode.
4) KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO AND WHAT YOU CAN’T
If you’re a beginner, don’t try learning a difficult song just because it’s your favorite. Start small and work your way up to difficult pieces. Even more advanced musicians struggle with this point and try to jump up on stage without fully playing through a song enough times. Learning and playing music is no rush, so start slow and find out what you can do and what you can’t.
5) SET GOALS
Once you’ve found your baseline, start setting goals and items to work towards. Whether that means learning a new scale in an hour or mastering a song in a week, set goals which challenge you while at the same time being realistic as to whether or not you can hit that goal.
Goal setting is extremely important to achieving more during your music practices.
6) SOLVE PROBLEMS
You may occasionally run into problems along the way while you practice more and more. Maybe you’re stuck on a certain point in a song. Problem solve, and figure out the best solution to this problem you’re having. Maybe the solution is looking up someone playing the song on YouTube or even hiring a music teacher.
7) TAKE NOTES
Always always always take notes. Bring a pencil and paper into your practice sessions so you can write down where you get stuck, what you need to work on, and even helpful little tips that you come across and don’t want to forget.
8) LEARN ABOUT YOUR INSTRUMENT
Being a great musician means you know about more than just the song you’re playing. You should know what to do if your instrument breaks, how often you clean your instrument, even what to do if your instrument goes out of tune. Sometimes you’ll find that playing a song in a slightly different way on your instrument will make a big difference.
9) RECORD YOURSELF
Be sure to record yourself when you practice! You’ll not only be able to hear which parts you need to improve on but also you’ll be able to see which parts give you the most tension or when you have an awkward stance. Almost all professional musicians record themselves and take notes while playing back the recording. This simple action can greatly improve your practice sessions.
10) TREAT YO’ SELF
The iconic catchphrase, Treat Yo’ Self, from Parks and Rec holds true to getting more out of your practicing as well. Once you’ve had a great jam session, reward yourself! Giving yourself a reward releases common association endorphins and makes practicing more enjoyable since your mind knows you’re getting a reward at the end.
And lastly, remember to take a break if you hit a wall or you don’t feel in the music mood on a certain day. We all get frustrated at times and hit a stopping point. It’s better to take a break and come back to it tomorrow as opposed to disliking practice in the process. You never want practicing to be a chore. But instead, something you enjoy doing!