The Best Classical Music Practice Tips
Getting started with classical music training is only the start of the journey, we all need to practice and here are some of the best classical music practice tips to help you develop and grow.
- Find A Quiet Place
This might seem obvious but it will not only make you far less likely to succumb to distractions but entering a designated practice are whether it is just the corner of your living room or a particular room helps to mentally prepare you for this kind of work. Mindful intention means a lot and you can help set this intention by having a ritual in place of going to the same place each time.
2. Ready Your Supplies
Cellist David Finckel has a 100 video series on YouTube known as “Cello Talks” where he says that you do not even need to play the cello to get much out of most of them. Part of what he covers might seem like very basic advice such as the discussion of his practice space. He advices his audience to keep a very clean eraser along with a pencil sharpener close by as well as a pencil for marking up music. This seems simple but it is one of those little things that are easily forgotten and you can easily waste a lot of time if you have to start searching for them. A top classical music practice tip to keep in mind!
3.Technology As A Training Aid
Technology is an amazing aid but only if you do not spend too much time fiddling with it. I have 3 low-cost or free apps on my iPad a phone: a timer, a tuner, and a metronome since they are important practice tools. I also carry my phone with me everywhere (as most of us do) so it’s technology you can trust to have to hand.
4. Classical Music Tip – Start With an End in Mind
Always have a goal for every practice session before you begin playing. Simply playing music is not the same thing as practicing. You should think about what you would like to accomplish that particular day before you begin. If you aren’t too sure about what to focus on, you can ask your teacher / mentor for several concrete goals you can work toward before the next lesson. Note these goals down so that you are able to refer to them in your practice sessions.
5. Mapping Classical Music Practice Sessions like Workouts
Many musicians love starting with some breathing exercises and a few stretches before they ever pick up any instrument. Even if you don’t reach that extent, a relatively common scenario is to warm-up using scales to loosen up the muscles and get the brain thinking about technique. Next, move to the “working” part that involves analyzing and attempting to solve problems. Finally, cool down by improvising or revisiting music that you already know well.
6. Practicing Smarter, Not Necessarily Longer
If you have a focused objective you can easily accomplish much more within a shorter amount of time. Science even tells us that the amount of willpower that you can draw upon is limited. You thus need to make the most of the time available to you. Assume that you are having problems with a couple of tricky measures. Set a timer for a short period (say 5 to 10 minutes), then focus exclusively on one problem in as many ways as possible. You can even break it down into successively smaller and manageable bits, go very slow, change the rhythm, and try playing the passage backward, whatever. If you still have problems with that trouble spot, make a mental note to come back to it again tomorrow. It is highly likely that it will be much easier then.
7. Classical Music Practice Tip – Don’t Always Start At The Beginning Each Time
Don’t forget about maximizing your willpower and time. It feels quite good to hear yourself playing beautifully at the beginning of a piece but you can easily find yourself wasting the limited energy and time that you have. It can also lead to performances that start strongly but wilt along the way.
8. Challenging Yourself
This refers to challenging yourself physically. This is particularly important if you are attempting to wrestle down a problematic element. Scientific research say that adding a physical challenge to a difficult task such as attempting to play the part while walking or standing on one leg forces the brain to start creating new neural pathways. When you resume doing the original task, it will be much easier.
9. Practicing Away From Your Instruments
Visualization is a tool that many musicians use just as athletes do: They run through music without actually touching any instruments. When you have some downtime such as during a train or car journey, you can try bringing your music along with you either on a mobile device or on paper then read through it silently. Envisage yourself practicing but only in your mind, you will be amazed how much of an impact this visualization can have.
10. Rewarding Your Hard Work
To help the brain automate good habits, you need to reward hard work in a positive way. This might sound like plain old bribery but it is backed by science. Charles Duhigg, who authored The Power of Habit writes that finding something that the brain likes helps it remember the “habit loop”.
You can get more information on Classical Music culture and importance of practice with our blog on 50 things to remember in the practice room.