The Best Way To Practice

The Best Way To PracticeBeing instructors, we are often asked what the best practice methods are. What practice methodology will yield the best results? How can I most efficiently improve my skills? Simply put, what is the best way to practice?
We’ve assembled our 5 top tips for maximizing your practice time, and most quickly becoming the best player that you can be. Hopefully you can use these in your practice regiment and become a better player.
1) Play for fun
What we tell our students here is, “don’t practice, just play”. In other words, play for fun. If you play for the joy of playing, you’ll play more often because you’ll be less frustrated trying to learn a specific song or technique. Sure, you’ll need to practice up on those things you want to learn, but just playing for the joy of playing itself will make you a better, more happy musician, and you’ll see that you will progress more rapidly because you are playing more often.. because it’s fun!
2) Play often in small increments
The key to learning is playing… often, but not necessarily a lot. How? Practice new techniques often but in smaller increments. For example, it is much more effective to practice something 5 minutes at a time six times a day, rather than 30 minutes in one setting. To encourage this, keep an instrument close at hand; for example, for guitarists or ukulele players, keeping your instrument in the living room will enable you to pick it up often and strum for a couple of minutes at a time several times throughout the day. We feel that playing often for short periods is without a doubt the best way to practice.
3) Don’t look at your instrument when playing
A key to learning your instrument well is to not look at your hands while playing. If you make a mistake, look and correct, but then look away again. After all, do you play with your eyes? Watch videos of live performances of some of the greats, and you’ll see that, for the most part, they focus on their audience and not their instrument. One exception is that when guitarists switch position (i.e. move from the 3rd to the 10th fret) they do a quick look as they move their fretting hand. Practicing by not looking at your instrument, which is the best way to practice, will make you a better player.
4) Focus on technique, not speed
For those looking to develop speed on their instrument, start slow with proper technique, and as you increase speed focus on keeping the same technique. We often see players change their technique as their speed increases. This is an area where an instructor can really help. They’ll point out what’s going on, and help you to maintain proper technique as your speed increases, resulting in better results as your speed increases.

The Best Way To Practice

An instructor can help students keep proper technique while developing speed.

5) Record your progress
We see students once a week, and really notice the progress. The students themselves don’t notice progress as much, because it happens incrementally, often daily. When learning something new, record a video of where you’re at on day one, and assuming you’ve worked on it daily, watch the video a week or two later. You’ll be amazed at your progress!

Those are our 5 tips on the best way to practice. We hope you can use them and become a better player yourself!

NHTunes Music Studio is located in Manchester, New Hampshire, but if you are not local to us, we also offer online lessons via Zoom. Our lesson prices are very reasonable, and our instructor team is the best around. We teach all ages and skill levels from beginner to advanced players. Read more about our lessons HERE.

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