Effective Practicing Habits
1. Consistency is key. It is very important that practicing becomes a HABIT. Nobody has time to practice. Nobody has time to get to the gym. Nobody has time to……. If you find yourself telling yourself that you don’t have time to do something that you’ve decided is important to you and you have a goal, then you have to MAKE the time to do it. It’s just that simple. Decide a certain part of the day will be the time that you dedicated to giving your instrument some love. Even if you are not perfect or the practice session isn’t as long as you think it should be, the fact that you are putting some time in, really adds up!
2. Play everything correctly as many times as you can. It’s money in the bank! This is how your brain learns. Never make the error of practicing until you get something right. Practicing everything until you can’t get it wrong. The reasoning is very simple. If you play something 9 times wrong and then on the 10th time you play it correctly, you have effectively reinforced the incorrect way 9X more than the correct way. This is why you can get stuck on difficult passages that never seem to improve. Start slow, and gradually build speed. Here are some other very important characteristics of effective practice that I will be covering more in future videos:
—It’s very important to warm up. You need a good warm up routine. You need to warm up your mind and your body. Scales and technically less difficult repertoire are perfect for this.
—Use a metronome. The metronome is perfect. All great players use a metronome. The more you incorporate the perfection of the metronome into your practicing, the more perfection you will see in what you play.
—Slow practice = fast practice: Be patient! It’s important to start slow and build speed. Make sure you can play something perfectly at least 3X in a row before you build speed.
—Endurance = taking breaks. The human mind can only retain absolute focus for a certain period of time. Even the best of us can only keep a high level of concentration for about 45 min. Take a 5 or 10 min break after every 45 minutes of playing. Perhaps even more. If you are not focused, you are wasting your time.