Practice Makes… by Elizabeth Davis
You just had a great lesson, and are packing up to leave your teacher’s studio when he/ she says those all-important, gut-wrenching words: “Practice a lot this week!” Good practicing habits are difficult to form, especially if you’ve heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect,” which is not true! Practice doesn’t make perfect- it makes permanent.
So, how do you make the most of your practice time and make progress on your music? Here are a few tips for making practice time productive, efficient, and more enjoyable that apply to beginners or experienced musicians!
1 – Prepare your practice space
– Have a regularly scheduled time set aside for practice
– Free the practice area of any distractions not needed for practice: snacks, TV,phone, electronics, etc.
– Always warm-up first (flash cards, scales, app/review, etc.) if even for a short time!
2 – Have a plan- “what needs work today?”
3 – Don’t simply play through each piece from beginning to end- be diligent and work out the trouble spots. (Just ‘playing’ through songs isn’t true practicing.)
4 – When something is hard, think: “What is the melody?” “Am I in the correct hand position/on the right notes?” Practice hands separate and figure it out.
5 – SLOW-motion practice- practice under tempo- not fast! Especially with a new piece, play it slowly to get the correct fingering, rhythm, and notes correct before playing it up to performance tempo.* (*this is not super fun at first, but saves a lot of headache from wrong notes/rhythms later!)
6 – Reward yourself- if you accomplished your goals and practiced well, have fun and play through some old music or mess around with a new idea! You deserve it.
7 – Set goals, stay focused, and leave your practice session hearing a difference in your music! (Your teacher will be super excited, and your parents will be so grateful you don’t have to keep playing the same songs over and over…plus, you will enjoy the benefits, too!)
Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make permanent. Take the time to do practicing the right way and you will notice the difference in your lessons and in your music!
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