Here are some tips for practicing that I have found helpful over the years:


  • Just do it! If you want to get better at your instrument, don’t waste your time with excuses. Just get the instrument out come rain, hail or shine and make the effort. No-one is interested in reasons why you didn’t get better – at the end of the day musicians know how much hard work goes into improving and you will be respected according to your effort


  • A little each day goes a long way. Aim to practice each day, for a manageable and well-focused amount of time. There’s no prize for doing a 3 hour practice marathon session. Consistent, efficient practice leads to success


  • If you’re practice is sounding good, you’re practicing the wrong things. A colleague at University had this saying up on their door. You shouldn’t be practicing for your ego or other people to say how great it sounds – you should be working on the things you find hard to do and gaining the satisfaction from being able to play something you couldn’t before


  •  Practice as if a master is next to you. A slack practice is a dangerous thing as it reinforces poor habits that sneak into your performances. Your teacher wouldn’t let you play with poor posture, or articulation, or musicality – don’t let yourself get away with it just because they are not there


  • Set a goal and work towards it. Each practice session should have a direction with both short term and long term goals. Take the time to think about what you want to be able to do before you begin your practice. You should be able to say at the end of a practice what you have improved and where you need to go next session


  • Create your practice space. You need to have a place to practice where it is quiet, contains good acoustics and doesn’t have distractions. Make sure you have a good music stand and comfortable chair. Turn off your phone, it will only side-track you


If you’re interested in some practice techniques and ideas I would recommend reading the following books:

–         Susan Hallam Instrumental Teaching

–         Philip Johnston The Practice Revolution

–         Barry Green and Timothy Gallwey The Inner Game of Music