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The Most Efficient Way to Practice Your Instrument

November 11, 2013
Posted in: Blog

Consistent practicing is the best thing you can do to become a better musician. However, just as important, if not more so, is what you do with your practice time. Often an overlooked component, how to practice is crucial for steady progress. So whether you dedicate a ½ hour or 2 hours to practice, here are some basic principles to jump start your practice efficiency.

Find a Quiet Space

The first part of better practice is finding the ideal environment to work in. Make sure you practice alone and without any distractions. For example, the living room might not be the best place to practice if the TV is on in the background and your family is constantly in and out.

Have a Plan

Go into your practice sessions with clear objectives for what you want to achieve. Set goals for yourself and map out the exact exercises, techniques, etudes, songs, and pieces you need to work on to get there. Taking a thoughtful approach to practicing, rather than mindlessly playing through your favorite song a hundred times, is key to achieving more in less time.

Get Adequate Sleep

This is a no brainer, but still incredibly important and worth the reminder. Sleep is critical for memory consolidation, including the permanent encoding of psychomotor skills used when learning an instrument.

Error Detection and Correction

Practicing efficiently means identifying exactly what you’re doing wrong and choosing strategies to fix it. Address your mistakes immediately and do not let bad habits linger. In other words, focus on quality over quantity.


Focused practicing takes effort and discipline, but the payoffs are well worth it. For more personalized tips and practice plans, talk to with your private music teacher about specific tactics you can use for your instrument.

But whether you play the trumpet, piano, guitar, violin, nose flute, or whatever, the same principles apply. And you’ll reap the benefits in other areas of your life as well. Just about any skill or technique that you’re working at can benefit from this systematic, thoughtful approach.