Music Practice Skills How to Practice Effectively
Everyone needs music practice skills, without him or her; you will not progress very far in your musical education. It does not matter if you are a complete beginner or a professional the same rules apply.
The matter of practicing music really comes down to how our minds learn new material and how our mind then directs our muscles to produce the sounds of the musical instrument. Therefore, it is a mechanical process of teaching ourselves what fingers to move at what time and in what order. Without this mechanical memory, we cannot progress onto the actual music-making process.
What we achieve by correct practicing is the ability for our fingers to run on autopilot, leaving us free to concentrate on producing beautiful music. If you have ever heard a bad performance, it is usually because the performer has tripped up by the autopilot not having taught correctly!
How to Practice, Set Practice Times.
There are two golden rules here:
- Practicing often is more important than having lengthy practices.
- The right way you are, the more you have to practice to improve. If you are a beginner then aim for 20-30 minutes a day. Set aside the same time each day to do your practice.
Have a day off each week, but try your best not to have more than one day off, as you will start to lose any improvements you have made.
The more experienced you become the more practice you should do. Do not forget the first golden rule!
Warm-up This is a subject that wasn’t covered in my music education at all. But it is vitally important and will save you many painful (and costly) injuries later in life. In fact, it is probably the second most important music practice skill.
Not sure what to play for your warm-up?
You can play scales (always a good idea as all music is based on scales) but this can soon get boring so find a piece of music that is fun to play but not difficult and use different pieces on different days. Keep it interesting.
Music should be fun
If you are having difficulty reading, the notes then try this! Work on the difficult bits NOT the easy bits.
THE biggest mistakes students make (and yes I used to do this also) are to play through the music from beginning to the end and then tell you that that piece had now been “practiced”.
If you do this you are never tackling the difficult passages and your fingers will never learn the correct patterns and so you will be tripped up at exactly the same place EVERY TIME.
I cannot stress this enough, as this really is the biggest cardinal sin in practicing! Top Music Practice Skills Following on from this point is:
Do not practice it wrong! Do not play wrong notes, leave notes out, or play wrong rhythms. This just teaches you to play it wrong. If it is too difficult to play right, slow it down enough that you can play all the notes in rhythm, correctly, no matter how slow this is.
When you can play it correctly slowly, start speeding it up, but never practices it at a speed that you cannot handle. If there is something you just cannot play at all (a high note, for example), make it part of your warm-up.
Find an exercise that makes it easier to get to that note and do it every day the easy way. Summary Practice the difficult passages of the music do not be tempted to play through the whole piece Small chunks of practice time are better than one large block (our minds remember more this way)