man practicing the violin“Leaving your troubles behind, enter the exquisite realm of music making.”
The Musician’s Way,
 p. 6

The beginnings of practice sessions set in motion everything that follows.

When we start practice with clear intentions, we accomplish more in the shortest time.

Here are four ideas for launching every practice session with optimal focus.

Four Ways to Begin Practice with Clear Intentions

1. Specify Goals in the 5 Practice Zones

Pinpoint objectives for repertoire in your New, Developing, and Performance Material Zones. Also identify aims in the Technique and Musicianship Zones. See: “The 5 Practice Zones” and Chapter 1 of The Musician’s Way for more about practice zones.

Many music students organize their practice goals with the aid of the Practice Sheet described in Chap. 1 of The Musician’s Way. A blank downloadable sheet is freely available via the downloads page at

“When we start practice with clear intentions, we accomplish more in the shortest time.”

2. Warm Up Wholeheartedly

First, center yourself and then spend 10-15 minutes deliberately warming up, bringing your mental, physical, and musical faculties into alignment.

In “The Total Warm-Up,” I spell out a 6-part framework to structure warm-up routines.

3. Tackle Small Tasks

Move from one manageable task to another, solving problems, and limiting repetition.The Musician's Way book cover

Pick small enough goals so that you instill feelings of accomplishment.

4. Honor the Creative Process

Embrace challenges and errors as portals to growth rather than frustration, recognizing that creativity involves confronting rather than avoiding limitations.

“Creativity involves confronting rather than avoiding limitations.”

Most of all, adopt an attitude of love for music and the creative process, infusing every musical gesture with spirit.

The Musician’s Way articulates inclusive practice guidelines for all instrumentalists and singers.

Related posts
10 Affirmations that Energize Music Practice
Bringing Joy to Practice

Optimizing Practice Time
The Power of Specific Goals
The Total Warm-Up

© 2014 Gerald Klickstein
Photo © Daviles, licensed from