How to Practice

Whether you are a budding pianist, violinist, or starting guitar lessons knowing how to practice appropriately will single-handedly help decide how fast your repertoire grows. Most students think that they need to learn a song and move on to the next and then find themselves hitting a glass ceiling. Knowing how to practice is just as important as how much time you have to put in. If you spend everyday practicing without knowing why you are practicing then you aren’t really going to see much improvement. Practicing does not just mean doing the same thing over and over again and thinking you are just going to get better at it. Listening is apart of practice. As a musician you should be listening to music! Everyday you should be expanding your repetoire and listening to the songs that you are learning and going to learn everyday. As a teacher I never tell my students that they should be practicing 30 minutes or 40 minutes everyday. What I have found with kids that are given a time is that they set the timer and then just try and get through the time. I find it’s better to not worry about time but to make a list of things that need to be addressed. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced player use the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of technique and review and 20 percent of learning something new. Warming up with your tonalization, scales, arpeggios, finger excercises, vibrato practice, and anything else your teacher wants you to work on can be the most important part of your practice. The Suzuki way is to focus on one thing that you need to master. Think about the feedback that your teacher has been giving you. Are you lacking tone? How is your posture? Those two different things are linked together in some way – are you making the connection? Don’t forget old pieces. Older pieces give you confidence that you can use to work on improving something like your vibrato or tone. When working on new pieces go for the trouble spots or preview spots that your teacher has marked out for you. Don’t just practice something once, practice it 100 times. Repitition. You’ve probably heard that you should pratice until you can’t get it wrong. But I’ll say it again, practice until you can’t get it wrong. And then practice some more to add in your own artistry.  

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