How to Practice Music When the Results Really Matter
- Resist the urge to ad lib your practice. Instead set the intention that it is a fully planned project with benchmarks and specific, measurable goals.
- Realize that the project is your responsibility, that you won’t depend on a teacher, coach or anyone else for results.
- Write it all down in a short practice project document. The final goal, the estimated timeline, the benchmarks along the way.
- Read your practice document before you begin each practice session.
- While you practice, add simple notes to your document. Specific practice strategies, any helpful notes, and percentage of completion toward benchmarks and final goals.
- Build in some slack. Allow more time than you think you need at the beginning, it feels much better to finish early. Falling behind feels like failure.
- Be obsessive about defining goals and objectives in great detail. Without this, you’ll never be sure when your project is complete.
- When it’s time, move on rather than seeking perfection. But take the time to write down exactly what worked and what didn’t. So next time you’ll be able to move the project further and your playing will get stronger.
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About the Author
Bill Alpert is a performer, teacher and author with a unique focus on personal development and mindfulness viewed through the lens of violin study. Mr. Alpert's resume includes recordings, performances and film scores with artists such as The Moody Blues, Pepe Romero, Tina Turner and Johnny Mathis. The co-founder of the award winning Alpert Studio of Voice and Violin in California, he is professionally active in the American String Teachers Association and the Suzuki Association of America.