Is there a magic amount of time to work with your instrument at home? In this blog, I explore the question “how long should I practice?” The answer might surprise you.
How long should you set the timer for when you start practicing at home? The answer is usually-it doesn’t matter. Are you surprised? Well I’ve got news for you folks-the amount of time you spend rehearsing is not NEARLY as important as meeting these criteria:
Keeping a consistent practice schedule is really important to honing your skills and to preventing pushback from your kids when you say “it’s practice time!”. Consistent practice creates habits in technique and reading that stick. It’s much better (and less frustrating) to practice 5 minutes a day then an hour once a week.
I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it a million times more-structure is so important for successful practice. Playing or singing the same song over and over again until you’re blue in the face just to fill a predetermined amount of practice time won’t yield the best results for improvement. However, following a strategy (preferably one laid out by your teacher) will fast-track you to success. Whether it’s breaking the song into small manageable chunks, playing hands separately or singing each verse on a different syllable to help with your forward resonance, strategy is so important. Our time is finite, so we have to use it well. If you want results, carefully follow the way your teacher tells you to practice. Worry less about the clock, and more about the steps they’ve laid out for you. Want some ideas for structure? Try these on for size.
Having all your materials ready for yourself or your child.
If your teacher wants you to print out a specific arrangement of a song, or place stickers on the piano, make sure this is set up before you start your session. The teacher has asked you to do this to make the practice session go more smoothly, since they can’t be there to help. These materials will ask as visual prompts to keep you on track and help you to independently work through stumbling blocks.
So throw out the timer, decide how much time works for YOUR schedule and follow the steps above to the best of your ability. Practice will become a breeze in no time.