8 Strategies for Effective Instrumental Practice – Beginners
Practice requires consistent effort on a daily basis, patience from both parents and students, and persistence to overcome challenges. Most importantly we need good concentration and attention to detail to be able to quickly identify and fix mistakes. This can be achieved with the right practice set up at home regardless of the duration of practice. A consistent daily 15 minutes of practice that becomes a habit in your life is always much better than a one off longer 1 hour run through the day before your lesson.
In order to execute your efficient practice routine seamlessly, it is important to try and practice in a space which is free from distractions. Always keep a 2B led pencil on your music stand and make notes on your music as you practice. Further, in order to capitalise on the short period of time, identify 3 key areas which you would like to fix during your practice.
- Record yourself at the beginning of your practice. This will train your ear to be more receptive and provides you with an opportunity to critique your performance and be aware of areas that may need improvement. Note your improvement on a day to day basis and see how that translates into your practice in the following day.
- Practice in front of a mirror. You can correct everything that looks visually incorrect by yourself; tension and unnecessary movements.
- Correct your posture to ensure that good habits are developed over time.
- Use a metronome and tuner. Although this may seem difficult at first, it is extremely important to learn how to play in time with the correct rhythm. This will help you confidently play the music with accompaniment and also in a group setting. *Your tutor will give you guidance when you should start using these tools.
- Practice at a slow speed to ensure that you play all the correct notes.
- Incorporate dynamics and expressive techniques. Create greater dynamic contrast (loud/soft) between different sections within the piece no matter how simple the piece may seem to be. This makes the music more interesting for the listener.
- Imagine playing the piece. Don’t use your instrument and imagine to play the piece by moving your fingers in the order you would with the instrument. This will improve your kinaesthetic memory.
- Increase the speed on the metronome. There is no rush to play a piece in the correct time. However, to help reach your end goal to play the piece in the correct time, it is helpful to increase the speed in increments throughout the week before your lesson.
Watch this fantastic TED Talk: