April 09, 2015
How to Build a Productive Music Practice Routine From Home
Making regular practice a major part of daily life is a big deal for musicians, no matter their age, experience, or musical background. Whether it’s building muscle memory by going over scales over and over again, or memorizing a difficult passage of music with other musicians, those who pursue music seriously can’t develop their skills without consistent, dedicated practice.
For virtually all musicians, the hard work of sticking to a regular music practice needs to happen in their homes, but there are many challenges when it comes to setting up a productive practice routine where you live. These tips can help musicians get the most out of their home practice time, and they apply to everyone from seasoned professional players down to young music students:
Create and stick to a regular home practice schedule
You or your child might absolutely love to play music, but practicing at home only when you feel like it is a recipe for slow, inconsistent progress when it comes to building chops and mastering new material. The first step in building a thriving home practice routine is to set and stick to a strict schedule. By choosing dedicated time throughout the week for practice, musicians are able to focus on their work and grow in their artistry. Young music students lacking the discipline to do this on their own will need help from their parents.
The usual culprits we think of when it comes to distractions are smartphones, other people, and obligations like parenting. But when it comes to building an ideal practice routine out of your home, there are other things you should be aware of like how clean the practice space is, and how easy it is to access instruments and equipment. The idea here is that for many musicians, practicing is already tough enough, so why make it harder? By working in a clean, predictable, and distraction-free space, you or your child will have the best chance at being able to focus and thrive through music.
Have a list of actionable goals to focus on
Carving out a physical and mental space for practicing at home is a good start, but you’ll need to do more to make the time productive. Heading into each practice armed with a list of goals and priorities will help musicians maintain their focus by giving them a sense of direction. Make plenty of room to work on things like songs for an upcoming recital, but also leave time for activities that are creatively rewarding like improvisation or songwriting. Seperate your list of goals by separating short-term priorities from long-term items to gradually address.
Have instruments and equipment easy to access and ready to go
Instruments should be safely stored in cases, but the should be easy to access every time musicians practice at home. Digging your guitar out of your closet or sorting through the junk in your garage to retrieve your child’s drumset takes away from valuable practice time and makes practicing harder than it should be. This also goes for accessories and equipment like amps, reeds, metronomes, and stands.
You’ll be surprised what even a month of what practicing at home in a focused way can do for you or your child’s musicianship. By creating a consistent practice schedule and designating a spot in your home for practicing, musicians can give themselves the space and time they need to reach their goals and develop their craft.