Practising is hard and once the initial excitement of learning something new has worn off, how do we keep ourselves motivated? The only way to do this is to create an effective practice schedule.
So how can I create an effective practice schedule?
keep it fun
Make sure that your practice doesn’t become a chore! Keep it fun! Whether that is by changing up your pieces, changing the order of your practice or simply walking around whilst you play your scales!
location Location location
Think about the location you play in. Do you always practise in the same place or do you alternate it? Keeping your surroundings fresh will prevent you from having that ‘cabin like’ fever that we can so often get, try moving to a different room in the house! Keeping your work space tidy is also important as you want to avoid those distractions.
Always have your goals in mind. What are you aiming for? Having this on your mind as you practise will motivate you to strive forward! Have specific techniques and small quickly achievable goals to use such as playing specific bars, slow practice, metronome practice, different rhythms… the list goes on, will only help you to achieve these goals quickly.
Record yourself playing; listening to yourself can help you to hear specific things you need to work on without the distraction of playing the instrument. This will allow you to focus in on what you should be doing in your next practice session.
Listen to performances of the pieces you are playing. Knowing what you are striving to achieve will help push you in the right direction and prevent your practice from stagnating!
Use a timer to set different segments in your practice room. If you are a beginner you could set 3 minutes of long tones, 5 minutes for scales/techniques and 10 minutes for a piece. Having a specific time for practising leaves you wanting to come back for more!
stand on one leg!
If you have a section that you are finding particularly difficult, do something to distract yourself whilst playing it. Standing on one leg or walking around can help to build new neural pathways in your brain, assisting you with learning that new section of music! I have even gone as far to suggest students practice their scales while watching the TV, yes you heard!
mix it up
If you don’t like using your scales to warm up why not try a short piece you enjoy instead? Mixing up your practice routine can make it more enjoyable and may even highlight new things that you need to work on!
make music with your friends
Making music with other people is one of the great joys of being a musician! If you know a musician near where you live then meet up to practise. Alternatively, take advantage of the many apps out there that make it possible to bring music together.
It is always important to reward yourself when you have worked hard, whether that be with a sweet treat or a sit down with a cup of tea! Always make sure you take time to relax in between practice sessions.
Remember to check out my other blog posts here!