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  • Writer's pictureWill Scott

5 Tips to Improve Your Practice Routine

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

Let’s face it: practicing is hard. Sometimes, sitting down and practicing after a long day can seem like an almost impossible task. If you’re struggling with sticking to your practice routine, don’t worry. Here are some simple steps you can take to increase the consistency and effectiveness of your practice time.

Stay Organized

One of the simplest things you can do to improve your practice routine is to stay organized. Keep a binder with all of your practice materials inside. Using a binder works best for me, because it makes it easy to find whatever material I am working on. I find it harder to stay organized when using a folder, because practice material piles up quickly and it becomes hard to find what I’m looking for. Find a method that works for you and get organized!

Create a Practice Area

Choose a space in your house that you can dedicate to practicing your instrument. Ideally, this space is quiet, comfortable and free of distractions. Having a practice area will help you stay focused and will encourage you to practice more frequently. My practice area consists of a music stand, guitar stand, chair, amplifier, tuner, metronome and guitar cables. I keep my binder and guitars on their respective stands, because then everything is easily accessible when I sit down to practice. I tend to practice more frequently when I make it as easy as possible for myself. What can you do to make practicing easier for yourself?

Challenge Yourself

Learning a new song or technique can be frustrating, but challenging yourself to learn new material can also be rewarding and exciting. Picking up your instrument and playing music you already know will result in an unfocused practice session with very slow improvement. Instead, use your practice time to improve at something you are not yet good at. While it may be frustrating, you will improve much faster. Next time you sit down to practice, play something totally new and see what happens!

Minimize Distractions

We live in a fast-paced world and technology has become an integral part of our daily lives. The internet can be an amazing resource when learning a new song or technique, but it can also be an enormous distraction. If you spend most of your practice time in front of a computer, your routine is probably not as effective as it could be.

The key is to find a balance between practicing with and without technology. I find that when I limit my use of technology, my practice sessions are more focused and productive. Don’t get me wrong, I use the internet as a resource for learning music all the time, but I don’t generally consider that time to be practice time. After I learn something online, I make sure to step away from the computer and practice it in my practice area. I spend this time intently focused on my instrument, slowly learning the piece of music. This method works best for me, but it will be different for everyone and it's important to find what works best for you.

Set Reminders

We can use technology to our advantage by setting reminders to practice. Depending on what your current practice schedule looks like, these reminders might happen everyday or a couple times a week. Whatever your practice goal is, don’t start by setting extremely high expectations for yourself. If you currently practice once a week and set a goal for yourself to practice an hour a day, it’s likely that you won’t reach that goal. Instead, try to reach your goal incrementally. Start by picking two or three times during the week where you know you have a chunk of time for leisure activities. Set a reminder to practice at a specific time on those days. If the reminder goes off and you feel unmotivated to practice, pick up your instrument and play whatever comes to mind. An unfocused practice session is not ideal, but it's better than nothing, because it will help you develop a habit. I've noticed that a 5-minute, unfocused practice session can easily turn into very productive, hour-long session under the right circumstances. Inspiration can strike randomly and you never know what will happen if you leave your instrument on its stand. Force yourself to play, you might just surprise yourself!

I hope you find some value in these tips. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. If you would like, you can help me reach a larger audience by sharing this post on social media. Have a great day and happy practicing!



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