Countless studies show that learning how to play a musical instrument is highly beneficial to one’s health and well-being. This creative pursuit is known to neutralize brain activity, for instance. As such, regardless of whether you are still young or not so young anymore, there’s no denying that playing music is a worthy pursuit.
That being said, it’s worth noting that the activity is not always enjoyable. Practicing, especially doing exercises, is not an activity that beginner music students and even professional musicians look forward to all the time. The warm-up exercises are repetitive, which means there’s not much room for creativity in this part of the music practice routine.
However, practicing is a must for honing skills and for making learning in the future a lot easier. Therefore, it would help to approach your practice sessions with a more positive mindset instead of thinking of it as a mere duty to strictly uphold.
There are ways of making your practice routine fun and more effective, and here are seven ideas you can try.
1. Invest in high-quality instruments.
This is a highly recommended tip when it comes to honing music playing skills. Many find that choosing really good brands of musical instruments helps them practice pieces more effectively because of the higher quality of sound.
Typically, with a cheap and poorly made instrument, there’s always a struggle to get it to sound right. It can be frustrating for the ears and tiring for the hands doing the work to create music. But if you use a beautifully and expertly crafted instrument, playing it will not only be easier to do, but it will be more inspiring as well.
2. Make your instrument accessible.
Take advantage of those moments wherein you suddenly have the urge to play something. For creatives like musicians, unscheduled practice sessions can often prove to be quite productive, and accommodating them is also a part of the routine.
So, make your instrument as accessible as possible (of course, this is only typically applicable to smaller instruments like stringed instruments). Say, you tend to get the desire to play at night when you’re waiting for sleep to come to you. It would be easier to heed the desire if your musical instrument is kept right in your bedroom instead of the coat closet downstairs.
3. Create a schedule for practicing based on when you’re most productive.
Of course, you shouldn’t just practice when you have the urge to do so. It’s imperative to create a daily schedule for it and to time it during the part of the day that you know is most conducive to learning for you.
For example, if you are a morning person, it would be more advantageous to practice music in the morning when you’re alert and in a bright mood. So, identify the golden hours of your day and work your practice sessions into these hours.
4. Always set a goal for every practice session.
You will find that you work harder when you have a goal in mind and are not just practicing for the sake of practicing. Also, when you set a goal, no matter how simple it is, there will be such a sense of achievement once you accomplish that goal during the practice session.
Also, establish your long-term goal. The long-term goal is what will keep you moving forward in your skill development journey.
5. Work on a side piece.
If you’re taking lessons and you’ve been assigned a particular piece to work on (for example, for a grand recital or performance), you can avoid the burnout of a rigorous practice routine by working on an extra musical piece. This will serve as a fun distraction, especially during those times when you’re feeling frustrated.
Good side pieces to consider are pop tunes that you like. Dedicate about 15 minutes to learning a side piece and generate happiness from it, and go back to the original piece assigned to you.
6. Add a physical challenge.
Create an obstacle where you’re learning a new piece not only to make practices more interesting, but also to develop your skill. For instance, try playing with your eyes closed or blindfolded. Another obstacle to try is to stand if you usually sit to play.
According to research, these small deviations in your music practice routine allow you to tap into different parts of your brain, creating new synaptic connections that can enhance not just your performance, but also the overall musical experience.
7. Include a reward system for your routine.
Finally, whenever you accomplish your practice goals, make sure to reward yourself. This is another effective way of bringing inspiration and joy to a mentally and physically demanding routine.
Some examples of great rewards are concert tickets, having dinner out with your family (with whom you couldn’t spend much time while preparing for a performance), or getting the new high-quality stringed instrument you’ve been eyeing for some time.
A great music practice routine is not only about being productive; it has to bring you joy and excitement for the future as well. The tips shared above can help you create an optimally effective routine for learning music and becoming a master of the instrument.
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