10 Easy Ways To Optimize Your Music Practice

These music practice tips are effective for anyone who plays an instrument or sings.

  1. Find a consistent and quiet place to practice. This may seem obvious, but entering a consistent practice area, whether it’s a certain room or just a corner of the living room, will help prepare you mentally to practice. And a place free of distraction is a must.
  2. Have your supplies nearby. Keep a pencil, sharpener, and a clean eraser within arm’s reach to mark up your music.
  3. Technology can be an amazing aid — as long as it’s simple to use. Popular free or low-cost apps for cell phones include a metronome, a tuner and a timer, which are all essential tools for practicing.
  4. Have a goal for each practice session. Before you start, think: What do I want to accomplish today? If you’re not sure what you need to focus on, ask your teacher for a few concrete goals to work toward before the next lesson.
  5. Map a practice session out like a workout. A common scenario is to start with scales as a warm-up, to loosen up your muscles and get your brain thinking about technique; move on to the “working” part where you analyze and try to solve problems; then cool down by improvising or revisiting some music you already know well.
  6. Practice smarter, not necessarily longer. You’ll probably accomplish a whole lot more in a short amount of time if you have a very focused objective. Setting a timer can be helpful.
  7. Don’t always start at the beginning. If you find yourself getting tired before completing the song, you may wind up starting a performance strong and then making mistakes as the score progresses past the point you’ve practiced often.
  8. Challenge yourself — physically. Scientific researchers say that if you add a physical challenge to the difficult task, such as trying to play that part while standing on one leg or while walking, your brain is likely to start carving out new neural pathways — and the original task will be easier when you return to just doing that.
  9. Practice away from your instrument. Many musicians use visualization in the same way that athletes do: They run through their music without touching their instruments.
  10. Reward hard work to help your brain automate good habits. Finding something that your brain likes helps it remember the “habit loop”.

Read the entire NPR article at https://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2013/09/03/216906386/10-easy-ways-to-optimize-your-music-practice

The teachers at Lafitte Music Center have extensive experience helping music students acquire good practice habits. If you’re ready to start your musical journey, or have questions, please feel free to reach out. We offer a free trial lesson, with group music classes and private music lessons at our music center or online.  We provide music lessons to students of all ages and skill levels in Citrus Heights and surrounding areas, including Fair OaksOrangevaleRosevilleNorth Highlands, and Sacramento.