Practicing is the most important skill that every musician should spend some time developing. Knowing how to practice will give you the quickest and easiest route to achieving your goals.
Here are some tips to help you ﬁgure out how to create your own effective practice schedule.
Quick Tip 1: Set Some Goals
Setting goals enables you to know what you want/need to practice. Goals give you something to achieve and makes sure you donʼt spend your practice time noodling over the same material.
Quick Tip 2: Break Down Your Goals
Breaking down your goals into smaller, more manageable chunks is an incredibly effective way to absorb anything your trying to learn. By making things smaller, your actively making what your trying to learn much easier for yourself.
For example, donʼt try and learn all ﬁve major scale patterns in one sitting. Take one, learn it, save the other for other practice sessions.
Quick Tip 3: Prioritize
Prioritizing is important in making sure you get what you need to get done fast. If you want to become a speed demon shredder, get your techniques exercises practiced ﬁrst before moving onto writing riffs or jamming.
Quick Tip 4: Use A Timer
Using a timer is another effective tool to have in your practice toolbox. By giving yourself a time limit to learn something during a session, you mind focuses itself much more effectively than if you were just casually noodling over your scales for 15 minutes.
Also, practicing for a limited time is good for your brain. Itʼll save you from burning out, and losing focus. Itʼll also tell you when itʼs time for a break. Taking breaks is incredibly important because giving your brain a rest is out you absorb information.
Ideally, you should take a 15 minute break to drink water, walk around and stretch after ever hour of practice.
Quick Tip 5: Keep A Journal
Keeping a journal is a huge help for musicians. It tells you what youʼve been practicing, how long youʼve been practicing certain things for, and it gives you great motivation when you start seeing how far youʼve progressed over a couple of months.
You can write down little notes in your journal during a practice session as reminders for the next sessions, such as “Lick 1A - relax more, release tension,” or “Watch shoulder tension.” Small notes like these are what make a huge difference in the long run.
Quick Tip 6: Plan Your Session and Allocate Time to Each Topic
Before sitting down for that hour of practice, consider what you want to improve. If you want to improve technique, then plan out a session with that goal in mind. If you want to write some better songs, plan out a session where you can achieve that goal, or at least some of it.
- Itʼs much better to practice with focus for thirty minutes than to practice loosely for an hour.
- Donʼt take on too much at once. Start small and slow. You donʼt want to overwhelm yourself because youʼll end up back at square one and wonder why your practice plan didnʼt work. See your whole development as a musician as a journey.
- Be realistic.
I hope you consider these points next time you sit down to practice. They are very effective, and can result in improvement in a short amount of time.