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”.
What do a first violinist, second violinist, violist and a cellist need in order to play completely together?
(it’s not a light-bulb joke 🙂 )
The Answer: Get Uncomfortable
Counting calories is uncomfortable, so is practicing at 6 am. But what choice do we have? What about the results you are seeking?
Quartet rehearsal is not comfortable when the violist keeps rushing (we violinists never, ever, ever, ever rush, especially when playing 1st). Wouldn’t it be great if you all just play it incredible the first time?
But it isn’t that way.
So, how do we deal with being uncomfortable?
Fear no more! I’m here to lead the way! (Cheers, applause, mass noise, wooooooo). Thank you, thank you!
First of all, if you think about it, uncomfortable doesn’t mean you are in pain.
It means you are not within your comfort zone.
And that is also OK because when you jump out of your comfort zone, you explore new possibilities.
If my math is right, you’ll be exposed to a bizillion new things (good and bad) that you weren’t exposed before when you sat in your comfort zone. Exposure will leads to experiences and experiences will make you smarter. Isn’t that what everybody wants?
Is there any way at all I can make the uncomfortable
YOU CAN’T. But there are some tricks you can use to soften the process and still get incredible results.
How to be Ok with Uncomfortable
* Savor Every Moment – Put your first vegetable in your mouth and touch it lightly with your tongue. Now chew. It tastes bad but it’s not painful. Immerse yourself in the flavor, even if it gets uncomfortable, realize there is no pain. I bet you never tried this way before. Repeat the process various days and see if it gets better.
* Realize you are not alone – There are 7 billion people with the same problem. For them a couch is more comfy than flossing. Uncomfortable will always be uncomfortable, you can only learn how to soften the impact.
* Become the Hulk – Man up! Scream, awhhhahhhahahahhhh for a few seconds and just do it. Then freak out!
* Get a little uncomfortable – Start waking up at 10 am. The next day at 9:50 am, then 2 days later 9:40 am and so on, until you reach 7 am. Changes are gradual—otherwise you won’t succeed.
* Look for it – Find discomfort and get into it. Practice being uncomfortable and adjusting. Keep thinking about the results.
* Observe yourself – Develop the ability to see yourself running away from discomfort. Go back and say: “No, I’m learning to take discomfort” and then immerse again.
ARE YOU PART OF THE EMPIRE YET?
Are you a bookworm? Me too. Although I don’t have a glamorous historic past among the books, I’ve found that books help me write better and have top understanding on the subjects I discuss here on Tips for Classical Musicians.
Great action novels (which I enjoy very much) are a great resource too. They get my vocabulary going and my imagination escaping away from this world.
These books gave me so much and hopefully they’d do the same for you.
Remember that if you control your personal life, you will succeed in your professional.
First, I’d like to introduce you with two of the greatest books I’ve ever read in the financial and business department. Want to set small business in music? No problem. The $100 startup will give you tons of ideas—not a music related book though. When I read it, I found myself constantly getting new ways to start a business in music. The book was written by the same guy who introduced me to Travel Hacking.
I Will Teach You to Be Rich is another essential read. Rami gives you an inside on how to manage a life where you take 100% control of your money. If you apply his advice, your future will brighten. Great way to be on top of your life.
Now, these next 2 books you have to buy. Not if you want to or feel like it. You MUST
They will guide you through your complete formation as a classical musician. But I am already a professional? Buy it! You will still learn so much from these guys. Everything from scales practice and stage fright all the way to careers in music and strategies to succeed. You have it all in these 2 books. You won’t regret it, I promise.
As a personal-development freak, I read many blogs and always try to remain efficient and productive. Most of the time I have a book or two (usually more) on the subject in my tablet. Among my favorites, here are 4 of them. Easy to read, lots of good stuff and advice you can’t get anywhere else.
TREASURES FOR LIFE!
I’m a little picky with fiction. I usually give the book about 50-100 pages and if I’m still bored, that’s it. Believe it or not, I have stopped many books half way because I’m bored. I recently finished these two and they got me hooked all the way to the end.
Girls, read The Tombs if you are not into action-videogames-guns-manly adventures .
Guys, Hitman is AWESOME! get it right away.
What I Look Forward To
The first part of Hitman was incredible, and the second part just released only a few days ago. Oh, I’m getting it. The Secret of Success have great reviews and I’ve heard a lot about it lately. Tim Ferriss and Chris Guillebeau are two of the people who I really admire. Reading their stuff makes me want to give the extra mile in search of expanding the possibilities and enjoying every moment while doing it. I’m sure that The 4 hour Body and the Art of Non-Conformity will definitely enlighten my path.
A Survival Guide for Classical Musicians
I can’t finish this post without recommending my own work, ooopsss! A Survival guide for Classical Musicians is the companion guide to my blog. Over the years I’ve been studying personal-growth and how to apply it in the practice room. How to grow as a person in order to become a better musician is kind of my slogan. If you get the guide (only $7) you’ll get a free report on Travel Hacking. And you will be supporting the website, the community and the stability of the content being produced. Your support will ensure the future of this blog.
How awesome would it be if you could lay on a couch to watch Family Guy for hours?
If you ask me, I would tell you
that is 100% awesome
and probably the best hobby/activity/marathon ever invented by the human race.
Well, I’m 26 years old, just finished my master’s in music performance and I’m not married, yet. I don’t have to support anybody but me. The truth is that I could probably do those marathons for as much as 4 days straight, no problem.
Actually, I think I’ve done it once or twice.
Although I am not completely ashamed (just a little), I can explain
It’s so damn hard to open my case and play one scale.
For what! I’ve been playing scales since I know myself.
Boring stuff to enhance a technique that doesn’t seem to be enhancing or that it will ever be enhanced.
It happens to all of us! ( I hope so! )
If you are like me, you feel really bad after those marathons because you were not productive.
Don Juan could’ve been perfect by now, Mozart No.4 should’ve been the cleanest of all time—but you chose to watch Family Guy!
How awful! Shame on you! 🙂
heh, it’s ok! It won’t happen again right?
If you want to avoid a moment of regret after a 4-day-marathon, here are some tips that can help motivate the musician inside you and start doing NOW!
I’ve said it before but it needs to be said again; Often, the hardest part is to get started. So,go crazy! sit down for a minute and think ‘‘in 1 minute I will start running to open my case and do 1 scale”. I tell you, just that keeps me hooked for the rest of the day.
Exercise first thing in the morning. The benefits are incredible and a lot, your mind will be clear and your energies all boosted, ready to hit the practice room.
While you watch Family Guy, bring your sheet music with you. Play the passages mentally on commercials. It could get you going after that episode 😉 .
Sit down with full score in hand and your favorite recording. Learn from it and study it with your heart.
Eat fruits and hydrate well. They will keep you healthy and happy—2 vital elements to practice with your whole senses.
Now that you know what to do pick one and try it out.