How To Make The Best Of Your Practice
Have you ever sat down for a practice session, much time has gone by and you feel like nothing got accomplished? I have most definitely felt like this, and I’m fairly certain most anyone who plays an instrument has felt this way. There are so many techniques out there to learn and apply that sometimes it gets hard to focus on any one thing. Especially when there are so many amazing musicians and styles to emulate! So let’s go over some tips and tricks to help make the most of your time and make it count!
First of all, set yourself up somewhere where there are no distractions and you can play undisturbed. Maybe set up in your bedroom with the door shut. Keep the TV or radio off. And maybe even make sure the temperature is comfortable so excessive heat or cold don’t become a problem. Have everything you need set up prior to beginning your practice. If you need a music stand to hold your sheet music or a seat that is just the right height, get it ready! Then pick up your instrument and hold it using the proper form for the respective instrument.
Now that you are set up and ready to start producing results, let’s choose something to work on! For example, if you are learning a new strum, focus on that particular thing. Trying to do too much at one time will divide too much of your attention causing you to not improve on anything. So if you want to learn a new strum stick to that. If you use a pick to strum, stick with the same pick and continue to use it. If you use the nail of your fingers, use the same finger to strum with. Consistency is what will build muscle memory and favorable results!
Slow consistent repetition is the key when it comes to learning something. So for strumming, do slow repetitions. Play the pattern slowly over and over and over and over. Play the strum muted. What does ‘muted’ mean? The means to lightly hold your fingers on your strings so that when you play no audible tone is created. This will cause you to focus on the strum itself. Say the pattern of the strum out loud as you play, and watch your hand as you do so.
When working on anything be it strum, rift, or even chord transitions practice SLOWLY. Rushing won’t help you, and in most cases can actually frustrate you. Don’t set the bar so high that you skip the basics of learning anything. The focus of practicing things slowly with repetition is to establish CONTROL of whatever it is you are working on. After working on something for a while and after becoming comfortable with it, that is when it’s ok to move forward and add something else to that and mix it up. It might seem a bit rigid, and granted many learn in different ways, but take it with a grain of salt! Ultimately the main goal should be choosing a clear objective on what you want to work on, and work on it. There are all sorts of ways to improve one’s playing, and this is just one aspect and technique. As long as you are putting in the time to improve your playing you are definitely heading in the right direction! Good luck and we here at Practice Makes Perfect Music Studio will be cheering for you!