When you think “New Year” — more often than not it is followed by the word “resolution”. This is the time of year when people young and old reflect on the last year, and how we can change things for the better in the new year
PRACTICE MORE MUSIC is a common resolution among musicians every year — whether or not that resolution lasts beyond January is up to them. Let’s make this year THE year!
Here are a few ways to ramp up your practice schedule this year:
- Set aside a couple minutes in your daily routine. You set aside a few minutes to brush teeth every day… let’s give practice a part of your daily schedule! Maybe while you’re waiting for dinner to be made?
- A couple minutes is better than no minutes. I can’t tell you how many times I heard (and used) the excuse: “I was so busy this week. I couldn’t find time to practice.” I also can’t tell you how many times I’ve said: “You didn’t even play your song once?” Musicians are more likely to remember specific details to practice when they play more frequently.
- When traveling, remember your sheet music. You might not want to drag around a guitar when on vacation, but bringing your music with you gives you a chance to “shadow play” and pretend you have your instrument. Muscle memory is a big deal in music, and the more your muscles attempt the shapes and movements of playing your instrument the more your body learns it — taking the pressure off the brain.
- Host a private concert in your own home to hear the progress. I’ve had families do a monthly concert or when relatives visit. This is a good practice to help with performance butterflies too!
- Try a practice tracker. Every week/month/year track practice with a log tracking minutes. There are lots of types, and this year I will be trying something new: color by number pages. They already have numbers, so the minutes practiced get to be colored in. This also doubles as a math activity because you have to add up your minutes.
- Consider it homework. Kiddos already have homework for school — ask your teacher for an assigned number of minutes/days to incorporate into homework time.
- Incentives: positive and negative. “If you practice 5 times this week you will get [a sheet of stickers].” OR “If you don’t practice every other day, you have to [fold the laundry…take out the trash]” Get those chores done, and they will certainly feel more happy to practice!
- Find a song they REALLY want to learn. The music is supposed to be FUN! It’s easier to have fun after a song is more practiced… they just have to trudge through the yucky sounding stuff first to get there. They may get frustrated when practicing, but help be encouraging and remind them of how far they’ve already come! 🙂
It is possible to get back into the habit of practicing music, no matter how long it’s been since it was a regular part of your routine. I hope these tips help drum up (pun intended) some motivation to practice.
Author Sue Bjorgolfsson
Music Teacher, Melody Magic Music Studio
Get Started With A Trial Class!
Join us in the studio to see what it's all about.