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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

5 Practice Tips To Improve Your Musical Skill

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I recently read a great article about practicing your instrument on NPR that was focused more on orchestral players, but had many aspects that are universal for any instrument. After reading it, I realized that when I had my best practices and progressed the most, I was subconsciously using many of these methods. Here's my adaptation of the article's suggestions, which provides 5 practice tips that will improve your musical skill.

1. Find a quiet space. I've seen people trying to practice with people and noise around and it's never as productive as when you're alone. Even if no one is speaking to you, your still subconsciously distracted.

2. Practice with a goal. Actually plan what you're trying to accomplish today.

3. Practice smarter, not longer. You can accomplish more when your focused, so make sure that if a section is giving you trouble, you spend enough time concentrating on it. Not too much time though, since that could wreck your practice schedule and lead to missing your daily goal. If you don't get the part today, it will be easier tomorrow.

4. Challenge yourself physically. Try to learn something that's difficult to play. Research has found that by stretching yourself, your brain is creating new neural circuits that can be applied to other aspects of your playing.

5. Practice away from your instrument. When you're away from your instrument, visualize playing it. Listen to a song and see yourself playing it in your mind. Athletes do this all the time to get better, why shouldn't you?

Practicing for the sake of just putting time in can be counterproductive and not much fun. Save time, energy and improve your skills with these 5 practice tips.

You'll find some other great rehearsal tips in my How To Make Your Band Sound Great book. You can read excerpts from that and other books on the excerpts section of

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