Musicians Mobile

New Year – New Music! Practice Tips for 2014

Musicians Mobile students (and teachers!) are always looking for ways to improve their practice time. Whether it’s making the most out of a shortened session, being able to see progress, or simply focusing, students and teachers alike need pointers to stay motivated in music.

We have scoured our sources to find what we believe are the seven best practice “tips” for our Musicians Mobile community.

Student Activity: Earn a shoutout in our next blog post if you let us know how you applied these tips to your practice! Bonus points if you find the hidden message in this post!

1. Set-up

Set-up your practice area with everything you will need (pencils, erasers, picks, metronomes, tuners, music, etc.) Leave your supplies in one spot and it will become your “practice zone.”

2. Uninterrupted practice = the best practice!

Find a space free of the noise of televisions, cell phones, conversations, and any other distractions. Remember, you’re in the “practice zone!”

3. Chunking!

Try not to start at the beginning of a piece during your practice session. Instead, recall the trouble spots from the day before and start in those places. Break pieces/songs into smaller bite-sized “chunks” (maybe 2-4 measures at a time). You would never attempt to put a whole pizza in your mouth! In the same way, don’t try to finish an entire piece in one practice session!

4. Concentrate

Focus not only on the notes and rhythms, but also on your articulation, dynamics and steady tempo right from the beginning. It’s easier to include all of these items from the start, rather than trying to re-learn how to play them later! Take your time, be calm, go slowly, and focus on the details!

5. Ease into the difficult passages

Oftentimes, musicians want to play things perfectly the first time they play a piece. That’s outrageous! Did you make a basket the first time you shot a basketball? Or, did you make it down a black-diamond slope the first time you put on skis? Probably not. In the same way, give yourself time to learn and grow in your music. The more you rush, the harder it will be (and the longer it will take). So, slow down! Take it easy! If you do, you’ll be playing like the pros sooner than you think.

6. Earn rewards!

Set goals before you begin practicing. Do you want to perfect one line, one transition, or one page? First, decide on your goal; then, when you accomplish it, decide what you will do to reward yourself for your efforts!

7. Dessert!

There will be times when your music becomes very challenging! That’s a good thing! However, always end your practice session with something fun. Pull out your favorite piece and just “play!” You’ve had your dinner, now it’s time for dessert.

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Musicians Mobile proudly offers in-home bass, drums, guitar, piano, and voice lessons for students in Saratoga, San Jose, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Campbell, and Los Gatos, CA. Enjoy. Experience. Music.

Submitted by: Majhon Phillips, Piano and Vocal Coach

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