David Motto’s Practice Tip of the Week:
An Important Way to Save Time and Frustration
Being Organized. It’s essential if you really want to meet your goals, save time, and lower your level of frustration.
To make the best use of your time, you’ll need to be extremely organized about planning the music to be covered in today’s practice session. And, please don’t forget to plan the physical organization of your practice space itself.
Have a Designated Practice Area
Most practice experts recommend having one place where you always practice. While this is obvious for pianists and drummers, it is an essential suggestion for guitarists, string players, and woodwind and brass players who can (and do) set up anywhere.
A single space for practicing has three high-level advantages:
- You know your job is to play music when you’re in this space. This helps your concentration and focus.
- It’s easy to tell others in your household not to disturb you when you’re in this space.
- The practice room helps you form the habit of practicing regularly. Stepping into this space becomes a cue for playing music.
Organize Your Practice Accessories
Within your practice space, you can designate specific areas to place all the little items that make playing your instrument easier. You don’t want to waste time searching for your metronome, tuner, pencil, smartphone, sheet music, instrument stand, or other necessities.
The frustration of misplacing just one of these items can be enough to make some musicians simply give up on practicing for the day.
Some musicians keep these things in their instrument case. Others have a specific shelf, drawer, or table for this purpose. Many professional musicians have two sets of these items: one in their practice space, and another in their case for taking to rehearsals and gigs.
A Useful Rule of Thumb
Keep everything you need to practice within arm’s length of where you’re sitting (or standing) as you practice. Any time you have to get up or walk across the room to retrieve something is time wasted and an interruption to your concentration and train of thought.
The importance of keeping your focus and concentration while practicing cannot be over-emphasized. Focus is perhaps the single most important component of building successful skills during practice sessions. If you lose your focus, you’ll need to remember exactly what you were doing, get back into your thought process, and re-start your practicing. That is inefficient, frustrating, and an ineffective way to improve your skills.
Create Your Own Organizational System
There’s no right or wrong way to organize your practice area as long as you have some sort of system. That way, you never waste time during practicing and you eliminate a common source of musicians’ aggravation.
Try to have your practice space ready at all times. Keep a chair and music stand permanently set up. It’s a good idea to store your instrument there too! And, by knowing exactly where your accessories are, you’ll be ready to make music in no time.
To Your Musical Success!
p.s. One absolute must-have item to organize your practicing is a practice journal. Using a journal is recommended by every expert on practicing music and goal achievement.
My journal is the Musician’s Practice Planner.
Used by thousands of musicians worldwide, the Musician’s Practice Planner helps you focus on your goals and achieve them!