Learning an instrument: 10 tips on how to practice properly

Often practicing becomes a kind of competition and stories are told of great musicians who practiced insane hours a day. Don’t let that put you off, though. You have to figure out how much time you can realistically spend practicing each day and then try to use it as productively as possible.

We have 10 tips for you as you practice your Learn your instrument more effectively. You are still thinking about whether learning the piano as an adult is worth it at all? With our tips it is easier to get started!

1) How long should I practice at a stretch??

Piano with sheet music and clock for practice time

It is known that our brain can only really concentrate for about 20-30 minutes. After that, you should take a break. To divide up half an hour optimally, you could use the following as a rule of thumb 25 minutes of practice and then a 5 minute break Make.

Important for the breaks is fresh air and silence, because the brain still has to process what it has learned. So after practicing don’t turn on the beloved show again right away. But even if you have less time, it doesn’t matter as long as you are focused, because basically Regular, concentrated practice more valuable than a one-time, hour-long session per week.

Practice better 15 minutes a day, than 5 hours once a week.

2) Good sleep – essential to not forget what you have learned

Sleeping woman dreams of notes

Studies have shown that Only sleep decides whether what is learned really sticks in the memory or not. Especially important to learn theoretical things (music theory, chord sequences) are the deep sleep phases, which we have during the first few hours of our sleep especially often.

But it is different with action sequences that we rehearse (Ex. finger exercises, pieces in general). Here are especially important the sleep phases in which we dream (REM sleep for Rapid Eye Movement). This sleep phase occurs more often in the early morning hours than in the evening right after falling asleep.

3) Make regular practice a habit in your daily routine

With all the things going on in your head during the day, it may be hard to get up and sit down at the piano. And how can you concentrate when you have just come from work or school??

You know your daily routine best. Maybe you can choose one Find a gap that is free every day. This way you can practice regularly and maybe see playing the piano more as a time out and not as "exhausting practicing". Or try to consciously relax a bit before practice time, so that you don’t think about other things all the time you are practicing, for example by taking a nap beforehand. Make sure that your nap does not last longer than half an hour, otherwise you will fall into a deep sleep and will not be fit enough when you wake up.

In the beginning, of course, it requires discipline, but after a while you will be able to concentrate Make the practice time a habit and don’t think that it will be exhausting or long. It is not possible to say how much time this will take, because it can take between 18 and 254 days, depending on the process.

4) Choose simple pieces of music for beginners to learn

Do not be too demanding. In order not to lose the motivation to play, you should choose simple pieces of music for beginners.

These songs should only be few fast movements demand from you. Choose only songs that you listen and watch beforehand can.

Also, the pieces should use at most triadic chords.

5) Practice new pieces slowly to avoid mistakes

Practice slowly like a snail

If you play fast, you will make mistakes fast. If you play slowly, you can concentrate better.

Eliminating rehearsed mistakes is extremely exhausting and tedious. So teach yourself the right sequence right from the start.

6) Take notes

Write down what you are not so good at yet. And write down what you can already do very well. Write down what you still want to learn.

If you want to be really efficient, create a practice schedule.

7) Warm up your hands and brain

Warm up like an athlete before playing the piano

You don’t do sports if you are not warmed up, do you?? Would be a bad idea at least.

It is the same with learning and practicing an instrument. Warm up your hands and brain. Don’t take on anything that you can only play insecurely and don’t play a new piece of music for this purpose.

To warm up, you should choose the same song for each practice session.

8) Set realistic goals

Write down and set realistic goals when learning the instrument

For each time you practice, set a goal that you can achieve in that practice session. This can be, for example, to perfectly master the first 4 bars of a song.

Don’t set your goal too low – it should neither under- nor overchallenge you.

Make it even clearer and divide your goal into small pieces that bring progress. Divide a song you want to learn into bars. First learn them one by one, then gradually connect them together.

9) Practice effectively to eliminate insecurities

Practicing does not mean repeating over and over the passages you already know. When you practice, make a note of the parts where you still stumble or have to stop again and again.

Don’t overplay these passages, but take your time per practice session (ca. 15 minutes) to practice them over and over again.

You will soon notice that you are getting better and better and can now play these passages fluently.

10) Feedback: show what you have learned to friends and family

It is difficult to evaluate one’s own ability objectively.

Show your friends or family pieces that you have learned. Then insist on honest feedback.

They will be able to tell you which parts still sound awkward and which you should work on more. Maybe it will even become obvious that you can already approach more difficult songs.

Yacine Khorchi

After graduating from high school, Yacine completed intensive studies at a private music school and piano studies at the Hochschule fur Musik in Wurzburg, Germany. He has been teaching piano for over 10 years and has been leading the music composer course at the Pop Academy Frankfurt since 2013.

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