Do you ever feel like you don’t get much accomplished when you practice? Do you feel like you work hard but are not improving much? Do you run out of time and not get through everything you wanted to practice? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you probably are practicing inefficiently. Here are some tips on how to maximize your practicing.
Practice what you don’t do well! Check out my Strengths and Weaknesses Inventory Sheet. Fill one out and then build a routine focused on your weaknesses. Many people practice what they can already do.
Know what to practice before your practice session! Use my Weekly Goal Sheet to organize what you want to practice ahead of each practice session. Don’t go blindly into a practice session without knowing exactly what you need to work on.
Be sure to determine how much time you want to spend on each category before you practice. Set a timer! When it goes off, move on to the next category. Next time you practice, you might want to tweak the times – some longer, some shorter. You will be amazed at how fast time flies by.
Keep a record of what you practiced, how much time you spent on it, and at what tempo you practiced. Check out my Practice Log. Use it to keep track of what exactly you practice in your practice session. You will quickly see aspects of your playing that you neglect.
Record your practice session and listen to it! It’s amazing what we don’t hear while we practice. Jot down notes of what you hear for future practice sessions.
Practice in a quiet space! Be sure to practice in a quiet, clean space. Never practice in front of a TV or a computer! Turn off your cell phone! Limit distractions so you may focus better.
Take breaks! Most people have a hard time focusing for long periods. Take breaks so you may maintain that great focus. Also, by taking breaks, your endurance will increase and you will be able to practice more throughout the day.
Be sure to use great practice tools when you practice! Always bring a pencil, metronome, tuner, recorder, and score to your practice session.