Practice time is one of the most important factors in any musical journey. For you to progress in any musical studies, consistency and efficiency are key. We’ve narrowed down seven good practice habits that children can use throughout their musical journey. What you will notice is that many of these skills help in life, too!
- Focus – Eliminate distractions like phones, TV, computer. Focus on the music.
- Slow practice – be deliberate and on purpose. Practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent. So, be smart!
- Detail oriented – have a goal and work towards that goal.
- Sectional practice – do not know practice what you know. Practice what you don’t know.
- Practicing all Assignments – Don’t leave something out just because it is hard. Do something easy and short to warm up, but use the energy as soon as possible to get to the hard stuff. Don’t wait.
- Record/Listen/Evaluate Performance – Record your practices and listen to them. You’ll notice wasted time, bad choices, improvements, and an overall sense of how good you are at practicing.
- Consistent – Make practicing a habit. You will learn to love practicing!
How to make practice a habit?
It usually takes two to four weeks for a person to make something a habit. Though good habits can be a bit challenging and hard to establish, it’s the bad habits that are harder to get rid of. Setting a goal and keeping a clear mindset is the best way to start forming good practice habits.
- To make your practice more effective and organized, make use of the practice charts and assignments for you to keep track of the flow of your practice and stay accountable.
- Looking at the bigger picture to track practice can help make you more detail oriented. Understanding your overall goal and the steps for how to get there are what practicing is about. Mark off each day, or section you’ve accomplished, so you can see your progress.
- Ask your teacher for practice flowchart that will serve as your guide as well as bring additional ideas (hand stretching, duration, how many times, cool down, etc.).
- Keep the piano, sheet music, theory books, clean organized and easily located. Keep your rehearsal space clean.
- Keep your references open, organized, and close to you.
- Make a list of practice techniques that you think will work with your structured practice plan. This is another reason your teacher is valuable, they have lots of ideas!
- If you’re ready to play a song, record it, listen to it, and evaluate yourself. Listen for mistakes, nonmusical tempo changes, etc. Next time work on just those parts. Don’t rehearse what is going well – you don’t need it.
If you follow these effective practice habits, you will notice a rapid increase in proficiency and overall growth in musicianship.