How Much Should I Practice?

How Much Should I Practice?

Don’t necessarily ‘practice’, but just ‘play’ for fun and you’ll improve!

One of the most often asked questions we receive from someone starting to learn an instrument is, “how much should I practice”? While there are many opinions on this topic, we’ve found that it’s not how much you should practice, but rather how often.

Practicing many times a day, in short increments, is much more effective than practicing once a day for the same amount of time. For example, you’ll learn more quickly by practicing 6 times a day in 5 minute increments rather than once a day for 30 minutes. I began this practice regiment years ago, and rarely play for more than 5 minutes at any one time (unless for pure pleasure). I’ve found that I learn much more quickly using this method.
Here are some tips for incorporating this methodology into your practice routine:
  • Make sure your instrument is within reach of where you normally hang out. For example, keep your guitar in the living room. An instrument within reach will get much more use then one that is, for example, kept under the bed in its case. It’s ideal if you happen to work from home, but if not there should be some evening time to work in some shorter sessions.
  • Play for fun; don’t think of each session as “practice”. If you just pick up your instrument and play for fun, you’ll continue to learn without the stress of having to learn a particular piece.
  • Use a metronome to measure progress. If you are looking to increase speed, use a metronome to see your improvement, otherwise you may become discouraged thinking that you are not improving. Use it once every couple days, and you’ll be amazed that a speed that seemed hard a few days ago is now actually pretty easy!How Much Should I Practice?
  • Play things that are ‘easy’ for you every once in a while. Playing an instrument should bring you joy, and there isn’t a lot of joy if you’re always playing things that are difficult. From time-to-time, play things that just make you happy, and you’ll be less frustrated overall and enjoy the instrument more.
  • Don’t be frustrated if you don’t get to practice every day. Adults have many responsibilities, and you may find the occasional day or two where you get little to no practice time. Stick with it, and in the long run you’ll see yourself improving and find success!

So, if you’re wondering “how much should I practice”, playing often, for shorter increments is one practice method that we have found to be very effective in making steady progress while learning an instrument.

Check out our instrument lessons, both in-studio and online. Our studio is located in the Manchester NH, mill yard.  You can check out our instructor team HERE.
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