5 tips to make your practicing more efficient
As you begin to create (and hopefully follow through) with your New Year’s Resolutions, why not consider encouraging regular and consistent practicing to your child’s routine for 2017?
As we all know, the only way to get better at anything, especially music, is to practice. Rather than going through the motions of playing through repertoire, students should introduce positive habits to their practicing routine that will benefit then in developing long-term musicianship, problem solving, and creativity skills.
Here are 5 kid-friendly AND adult-friendly tips you can use make the most of and gain the most from your practice time:
- Begin with a warmup
Can you imagine an athlete running and completing a 5k marathon without warming up? Musicians need to warm up before they play, just as athletes need to warm up before they engage in physical activity. Not only does beginning with a warmup whether it is a scale or exercise, help ease you into playing your instrument, but helps to develop technique and fluency in your instrument.
- Have a goal in mind
Setting short term expectations to be met during your practice time ensure that you are practicing with a purpose. Reaching these goals whether they are created by you or your teacher encourage more focused practicing with an end result in mind. Whether it is playing through a phrase with no mistakes or with dynamics setting specific and attainable are helpful in meeting expectations in your practicing.
- Practice what you do not know rather than what you know
It’s easy to get in the habit of playing through what you are good at rather than playing a section that is more difficult or needs more work. Playing through what you can already play well multiple times is a bad habit as it keeps you from improving in your playing.
- Slow and Steady wins the race!
Rushing through your material is not an effective way to practice. Playing through scales, exercises, and pieces slowly allows you to truly learn a piece of music. Eventually, you can increase the speed as you become more familiar with your material, but when first learning and practicing material it is essential to play through it at an appropriate speed.
- Save some of your practice time for YOU time!
Allowing your child to explore and have fun with their instrument during their practice time by improvising, composing, or just playing through their favorite song is a great way to have fun while being creative!
Approaching your practicing or your child’s practicing with these techniques in mind will not only reinforce good habits, but will encourage productive practicing that is much less of a chore.