Get the Most Out of Your Music Lessons - Practice Tips
December 9, 2016
Whether you study piano, guitar, or voice here at Cristina Music Studio or you study any instrument with a private teacher, it is extremely important to reinforce the concepts you are learning in your lessons when you get home. With consistent practice, many of these concepts will become second nature and you will be ready to explore more advanced material and techniques. Consider some of these practice tips to maximize your practice time and get more out of your weekly lessons.
1. Find a Quiet Practice Space
Practicing requires a great deal of concentration, therefore, it is important to practice in a place that is quiet where there are no distractions. This can be difficult at times, especially if you cannot transport your instrument. However, any steps that can be taken to limit outside noise and distractions will enhance your practice session.
2. Warm Up
It is essential to warm up before each practice session. A proper warm up helps you find flexibility in your lips, muscles, fingers, or vocal chords and gets you ready for playing. Neglecting to warm up before jumping into challenging repertoire can lead to injury.
3. Refer to Your Lesson Recordings
At Cristina Music Studio, we record all voice lessons and provide you with the recording. If your teacher does not provide a recording, ask your teacher's permission to record the session and record using your own device. During your first practice session, listen to the entire lesson and write down all the concepts your teacher touched on in the lesson. You will be amazed at how many things you forgot! Singers can warm up with the recording and use it to get the starting pitches to their songs.
4. Slow Down!/Use a Metronome
Take your time when you are practicing. Rushing through your music can lead you to reinforce bad habits rather than creating good habits. Consider using a metronome to practice at a steady tempo and become aware if you speed up or slow down.
5. Run - Work - Run
When working on your repertoire, start by running the whole piece or the section of the piece you have been assigned to practice. Assess how it went. What has improved since the last time you ran this piece? Which areas still need work? Then break it down and work the sections that need attention. Before you walk away from the piece, run the piece again to see all the wonderful progress you made!
6. Practice Schedule
Discuss with your teacher the number of days and hours you should be practicing each week and come up with a weekly practice schedule. Have an extra day set aside as a make up day in case a crazy night of homework has you missing a day.
7. Mark Your Music
Keep a pencil handy during your practice sessions! If you make a mistake twice, mark your music to draw attention to it. This is a great technique to use in lessons and rehearsals as well.
8. Have Fun!
There is a reason why you were drawn to your instrument. Whether you were inspired by a concert you attended or grew up hearing a family member play or sing, music touched you in some way. Periodically take breaks from your repertoire and play or sing through something you really love. Perhaps reward yourself at the end of your practice session by listening to your favorite song!