May 18, 2016

Don’t check out when you’re practicing

Do you practice every day? Or nearly every day? If so, you might think you are a really good practicer.  But are you really?

It is a good start to sit on your bench for practice time, but what do you do once you’re there? To get anything from your practice time you need to be there to work.  What sort of work do you need to do?  Well it isn’t just playing through all your tunes halfheartedly! Here are six things to include as you think about your practice:

  • Problem solve – unless you have something down perfectly, there is work to be done – the trick is to determine what needs to be done and to suss out the best way to get that work done
  • Define the work – do you partition your practice time to spend time on the aspects of playing that are important? Warming up, technique and exercises, detail on tunes you are learning, development of music you have in work, polishing and tweaking music that is learned are phases to include in your practice times.
  • Check your attitude – if you think practicing is a waste of time, it likely will be…so make sure you set your attitude to get something from the time. 
  • Pay attention – be engaged with your practice and expect good performance from yourself.
  • Have a plan – know what you want to do with your practice session.
  • Work the plan – don’t just make a plan, use the plan to achieve your goals. 
Don’t practice longer than you are able.  You need to build the strength and stamina to practice for longer practice sessions – and if you don’t work your way up to it, you will be too fatigued to get anything from a longer practice session.

Be sure to stay engaged with your practice - don't check out when you're on your bench!

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