6 Practice hacks for effective, low-stress music learning at home.

2 minute read
Written by Alek Stokes

Every student should always aim to get the most out of a practice session every single time they sit down to practice their singing or their instrument.

By applying the tips below, you will give yourself the best chance of getting the most of your practice time and see results that little bit quicker!

Mentally Prepare!

Whether you schedule your practice time or you decide in the moment that now is a good time to practice, knowing practice time is coming soon helps you prepare mentally for a practice session. Get into the right headspace for practice by thinking about what you want to play, your goals for the session as well as your challenges for the session. Plan for what you’ll work on in today’s practice session. Don’t try and work on the whole repertoire as one piece, breaking it down into bite-size pieces will also assist you in mentally preparing for a practice session.

Verbalise your goals

At the beginning of your practice sessions, say or write the specific goals that you plan to work towards. Include big goals like polishing off your upcoming performance piece as well as small goals like nailing the triplets at the start of a solo. You’ll be able to get a sense of what you have accomplished and what to do next.

Practice by listening

Record yourself playing your piece of music and listen back to it. This is especially helpful when you think you have the song down pat. You’ll hear your music in a totally new way and you’ll see and hear possibilities that you’re too busy to notice while you’re playing or singing in the practice session. Also listening to the piece of music between practices can also help you identify solutions to your current challenges.

Take a break

Your brain needs time to take in what you’ve worked on. Take frequent breaks, even if it is only a 30-40 second pause between segments. If you split your practice into several shorter segments in the session you’ll find you retain more from sessions than if you try and do it in one huge chunk.

Take care of your body

Your body is key to being able to play your instrument. Feed it, water it and rest it. Stretch if you need to. Use correct posture. If you aren’t feeling well, or you’re tired and feeling uncomfortable, it will interfere with your ability to focus fully on your practice. So, care for your body before, during and after practice, and in your life in general.

Don’t rely solely on motivation

Motivation comes and goes in waves. Use the motivation when it is there to establish your routine and schedule. Once you have established this routine and schedule you will have it to fall back on when the motivation falls away.

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Until then, keep learning, keep growing and keep asking questions