Practice Makes Perfect - Tips for getting the most out of your practice sessions
1. Try to set up a regular time to begin your practice each day.
2. Eliminate distractions. Make sure you have a place to yourself to practice without other activity swirling around you.
3. Don't miss a day - even if you only get in a few minutes of practice time.
4. Keep your practice sessions at a reasonable length. If you get bored, frustrated, or if your mind starts to wander, take a break. Try splitting up your practice time into 2 or more shorter sessions during the day.
5. Resist the temptation to try to "make up" for lost time by doing an extra long practice session after missing a day or more. You may strain muscles you are aiming to train, and put yourself further behind in the process.
7. Warm up at the beginning of your practice session with scales, arpeggios, technique exercises. Slowly waking up your muscles and your brain will make you more ready for the challenges of the pieces you will work on.
8. Zoom in on the hard parts of a piece. Figure out what specifically is hard about it. Is it the rhythm? The shifting to a new position? An awkward series of notes? Then take it apart and break it down by sections, measure by measure or note by note - whatever it takes to get it. And SLOW DOWN to a crawl if you have to until you get it correct. Then you can go back and gradually build it up to speed.
11. Look for recurring patterns in the music you are working on.
12. On piano, practice hands separately first.
13. Circle passages you can't figure out and ask your teacher to help you with that specific part at your next lesson.
14. Reward yourself after a good practice session! Have a snack you love, play basketball with your friends, watch a favorite tv show - whatever.
15. Make it musical. Knowing the notes isn't enough. To really make music, you must go beyond the notes and make it beautiful. Don't wait until it's note perfect to start doing this. Do it in each practice session.