woman playing violin after scheduling music practice“Your artistic evolution is best served by steady, judicious practice.”
The Musician’s Way, p. 11

Consistent practice empowers us to become the artists we aspire to be.

But skillful practice doesn’t just happen – we have to learn how to practice effectively.

One of the most fundamental things we need to grasp is how to manage our time.

So here are 5 guidelines that help us musicians use our practice time wisely.

5 Guidelines to Schedule Music Practice

1. Practice Regularly

Intelligent, daily practice permits our creativity to unfold. Ideally, we’d practice similar amounts and at comparable times each day.

If you’d like to be more productive in your practice, try the free practice logs and other aides available for download at MusiciansWay.com.

2. Arrange Multiple, Shorter Stints

Frequent shorter practice sessions promote deeper learning.

We also maximize efficiency when we pinpoint goals in the five practice zones described on pages 6 & 7 of The Musician’s Way.

3. Take Breaks

Well-timed breaks allow our muscles and minds to recharge. In general, we should rest at least 10 minutes of each hour that we practice – perhaps 5 minutes after practicing for 25, or maybe 3 minutes every 15. Ensembles might work for 50 minutes before pausing for 10.

See pages 75-82 of The Musician’s Way for information about three types of breaks along with suggested restorative poses that renew energy and help prevent injury.

4. Increase Gradually

To prevent overuse injuries, it’s vital that we increase playing or singing time in stages, no more than 10-20% per week.

5. Live a Balanced Life

The Musician's Way book coverAs we refine our practice schedules, we need to adopt balanced lifestyles that support long-term artistic development and career sustainability.

In closing, these principles speak to managing the quantity and timing of our practice, but musical progress hinges most of all on practice quality.

“Musical progress hinges most of all on practice quality.”

If you want to upgrade your practice habits, see Chapters 1-6 of The Musician’s Way for step-by-step guidelines.

Related posts
10 Affirmations that Energize Practice
Assessing Your Practice Habits
The Power of a Practice Schedule
Taking Breaks
The Twin Aims of Deliberate Practice

 Adapted from The Musician’s Way, Chapter One
© 2014 Gerald Klickstein
Photo © Alenavlad, licensed from Shutterstock.com