13 Practice Strategies for the Intermediate-Advanced Musician
Updated: Jul 29, 2022
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. This saying could not be more applicable than it is to instrumental music practice. Below are some strategies that will significantly improve the quality of your practice time.
Although as teachers, we often tell our music students to practice a number of minutes or hours a day, what matters is not how long they practice for but the quality of that practice time. If the student sits down and practices the wrong way for 2 hours, they are teaching themselves to play the wrong way. It then becomes extremely difficult to get rid of those habits they developed for many hours and days during a 1-hour lesson.
Reality Check: We are Naturally Lazy!
By having been a student most of my life and observing the behavior of those around me I discovered that yes, we gravitate towards being lazy and most of our life is a battle against it. This is not something to be ashamed of! It's human nature. Just because we're naturally inclined to be lazy doesn't mean we are lazy.
Mindless music practicing is far too common. Sometimes we just play through the music without actively focusing on improving. We think that by playing a passage over and over it will improve.
Unfortunately, this is not the case at all (you might as well wave a twig around and say "abracadabra").
Having a routine and a list of strategies really helps overcome the existential hurdle that is laziness. You've won half the battle by simply walking over to your music instrument and sitting down to practice. Now, don't be lazy and read the strategies below ;)
Create a schedule and routine that works for you.