photo of 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 with clear intentions, we accomplish more in the shortest time.

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

4 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 Power of Specific Goals” and Chapter 1 of The Musician’s Way for more about my concept of 5 practice zones.

Many music students organize their materials into 5 zones with the aid of the Practice Sheet described in Chap. 1 of The Musician’s Way. A blank downloadable sheet is also freely available via the downloads page at

2. Warm Up Wholeheartedly

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

In “The Total Warm-Up,” I spell out a 6-part framework to structure our 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

From the first minutes that you practice, pick small enough goals so that you instill feelings of accomplishment.

4. Honor the Creative Process

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

Most of all, adopt an attitude of love for music – infuse every musical gesture will spirit.

The Musician’s Way articulates inclusive practice guidelines for musicians of diverse interests and abilities.

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