“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
As 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.
10 Affirmations that Energize Practice
Assessing Your Practice Habits
The Power of a Practice Schedule
The Twin Aims of Deliberate Practice
Adapted from The Musician’s Way, Chapter One
© 2014 Gerald Klickstein
Photo © Alenavlad, licensed from Shutterstock.com
Very good advice. I like the balanced life part. I just came across this website and I will check out this book! Looks very interesting.
Thanks, Lindsay – I appreciate your interest and support!
I love this book. I am on my third reading. It is all marked up with different colors for each time I read and highlight it!
Very gratifying to hear, Rudy. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for reading, Joan, and the supportive words. I hope you’ll stop by often.
So happy to find your book and blog. Wonderful combination of balanced life and satisfying playing advice. Thanks so much. Joan