I had a great conversation with one of my students about practicing music that really inspired me and got me thinking. She confided in me that she didn’t think that she was good at practicing. As we know, practicing your instrument is the most effective way to improve skills and make the most out of lessons. After she told me she didn’t think she was good at practicing, I took a moment and thought about it. Suddenly, I said “Well, do you know how we get better at something? …By practicing!”
Well, my student seemed to think that this was pretty funny. “You mean practicing practicing?” she asked. “Exactly”, I said, “Practicing practicing”.
We had a nice long conversation about the different ways that she can practice practicing. The methods I gave her really followed the basic outline of practicing her instrument. Start slow. Do as much as you can.
It’s OK To Think About Practicing Music
One of the most important ways I told her to practice practicing is to always keep practicing in mind. There are many times throughout the day when you may be unsure of what to do with yourself. Keep in mind that there is always practicing. When making the decision between watching television or practicing, know that practicing will be a much more productive use of time.
Holding Your Instrument Is A Fine Start
Another way to improve practicing skills is simply by holding the instrument in your hands for about five minutes a day. This is an excellent way to get the student from thinking about practicing, to actually doing it! Even simply holding the instrument while sitting there watching television is beneficial. Chances are, with the instrument in hand, the student will want to play. Even if they don’t take one look at any method books, it’s still helpful. Even if they hit random notes, it’s helpful. Even if they just sit there with the instrument in hand not playing a note but getting more comfortable with holding it, it’s helpful.
Plan In Advance To Practice Music
I told her to schedule time to practice. If you know that 4:00pm every day is your practice time, stick to it! Schedule just 15 minutes a day, 3 days a week at first. This is much better than not practicing at all, and with just this little amount of time, my student will start to see how much she improves. If she can keep this schedule, add one more day the next week. Then, one more day. Then, maybe five more minutes onto each time. Before my student knows it, practicing will be part of her daily routine.
It’s also important to make practicing enjoyable! Allot some time (preferably at the end) of every practice session to simply mess around and play whatever you feel like playing. It can be a song or random notes, as long as you are enjoying it.
The idea of practicing can be challenging to many students. However, we can always get better at practicing simply by practicing it! Start slow and take time to improve and you will become a superstar at practicing while become a superstar at playing!