“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.
The most fundamental thing we need to grasp is how to manage our time, so here are 5 guidelines that help musicians use their practice time wisely.
5 Guidelines to Schedule Music Practice Sessions
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.
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.
If you want to upgrade your practice habits, see The Musician’s Way for step-by-step guidelines.
Adapted from The Musician’s Way, Chapter One
© 2014 Gerald Klickstein
Photo © Alenavlad, licensed from Shutterstock.com