Create a Practice Routine and Schedule It
If you want to be good at anything, you’ve got to do it…a lot. Some scientists apparently did a study and concluded that it takes 10,000 hours to master a specific task.
Learning how to practice and, more importantly, how YOU practice best is no different.
First of all, it’s a mistake to think that you need a lot of “free” time to practice. It’s actually more beneficial to be forced to be efficient with your time as opposed to thinking you’ll get some practicing in over the weekend or on a day off. So, let’s go ahead and agree that practicing is the equivalent of dental hygiene for your musical skills. I don’t need to explain the importance of daily brushing and flossing…do I?
Well, there’s our first decision: let’s practice every day. Find the time in your day when it’s most likely to happen and SCHEDULE IT. But schedule it the same way you think about brushing your teeth, or showering, or eating. You just fit it in.
Next, let’s focus on our weaknesses. One of the biggest issues affecting the quality of practicing is repeating skills that you already know how to do. Practicing involves working on skills you don’t know how to do. It should be a little uncomfortable. I call it “friction,” because that’s how it feels to my brain. I know, however, that enough friction will lead to smoothness.
Second point, then: decide on your weaknesses and design your practicing around them.
Routine Is The Thing
Next up is your ROUTINE. I can’t stress this component enough. It’s essential that you get in the habit of approaching your practicing with a standard set of “events.”
First event: HAVE A GOAL.
No matter how small. Set a goal.
Second event: WARM UP.
Your warming up is as much for your mindset as it is your muscles. Maybe more so…
Third event: DIG IN.
Do what it is you’ve identified as being a weakness. Do it slowly and deliberately. But do it. Don’t waste time doing anything else.
Final event: WIND DOWN.
Blow off the steam you’ve built up by working on your weakness. Have some fun and clear your head. Finish with a flourish!
There you go. That practice routine is 100% guaranteed to get the results you want. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.