The Music Practice Hurdle


in Learning Music

The music practice hurdle is constantly an issue with learning music. I've talked about the overwhelming nature of music elements and remembering that's it's really about breaking it down into manageable chucks.

Let's talk about some of the other issues for students in declaring that its hard to learn music and my instrument.

Practice Time

practice pianoI think that students also say it's hard to learn because of the time and effort that it can take to practice exercises and songs.

It's hard to spend all that time practicing. Yes, it can be a burden when what you'd rather be doing is playing with the neighbor or getting out on the golf course.

This is more of an attitude and a scheduling problem than a hard to learn issue. The quickest and easiest way to make it not hard is to plan to do it.

A Simple Effective Music Practice Method

Here's a quick list on changing this attitude if you want to make in not hard.

  1. Make a list of the things you need to be practicing on a spreadsheet. These will be small things like one new rhythm pattern, spelling and blocking one chord, practicing the E major scale or playing two measures of a new song you are learning.
  2. Schedule only 15 to 30 minute time frames that you will only focus on music. This may be 15 minutes before school or work. And another 15 before you watch the news or have dinner.
  3. Practice and work on your small items that takes 5 to 10 minutes to complete. You can get one to two items done in your schedule.
  4. Do it.

This is chunking the music elements down to manageable units. You will be able to get the necessary practice done and will progress steadily.

Going Large – Big Pieces of Music

What I do when I'm learning really lengthy songs is to do this piece meal approach. This is the approach we use in the Getting It Down Cold courses. Then I'll schedule a 2 to 3 hour session to pull many of the pieces together. I'm amazed every time how quickly the whole thing comes together in this way.

Believe me I've tried the do it all at once approach and it's HARD! You have to recognize that it takes time and focused effort to get the results that you anticipate.

Try this method and then let us know what has improved your practice sessions. Share with us what you are doing know that works well for you.

Getting Tuned in…..

Stephenie April 2, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Practicing music, well anything, means that you need to change your routine. You have to condition your mind and make it a habit. You just have to make it a priority. I do agree that if you try to sit and do it all at once you will be overwhelmed, discouraged, and perhaps even turned off. Playing the piano is like meditation or exercise, it feels great but requires motivation.

Brad_C April 5, 2009 at 6:18 am

You have hit the nail right on the head.
Conditioning your mind and making it a habit is a must. However, your second point on motivation makes this first point far more doable.

For me, I was so motivated that I constantly looked for opportunities to practice and play. I would think to myself, “you need to really get that ‘E major scale’ down and make it smooth.” That thought gave me a goal and would drive me to the piano to apply contrarian scale practice for 5 to 10 minutes on one thing. That’s the beauty of focused manageable chunks.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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