A large part of how quickly your skills as a musician progress is based on how effective your at home practicing is. Here are some ideas of how to make the most out of your time.
1. Start from the end!
When you only start from the beginning and then stop to correct as you go through, you end up playing the beginning some many more times than the end. Switch things up and go backwards. This could mean last measure, then the last two measures, last three measures etc. or going backwards by phrases. But playing the ending more can help the whole piece sound polished faster.
Music is made up of so many elements built together and part of what makes playing it so hard is thinking about everything at once. Try isolating the tricky part so you can focus on one thing at a time. This could mean playing 1 hand at a time, clapping the rhythm, playing notes without worrying about rhythm, or removing articulation. Just remember to add everything back together at the end.
3. Use your metronome!
We know it’s so much more fun to play fast. But slow and steady wins the race. The metronome is unforgiven, so it shows you all the little places where you speed up or slow down. Once you can play a piece as stead as a metronome, then you can experiment with speeding up or slowing down sections. But steady metronome work comes first.
4. Have fun!
Sometimes you have to go slow or go over sections that are less fun. But overall, playing music should be fun. Give yourself permission to have fun at your instrument, especially when you’re wrapping up a practice session. Play through the whole piece or sightread something fun or do whatever brought you to this instrument in the first place.