Even if you have been playing music for years, these practise tips are very essentials and will contribute to your improvement. Add these tips to your daily practise and you will soon see the benefits. It’s a long read but you will be glad you just discovered some very simple tips the professionals won’t tell you about.
1. Practise with a Metronome
Practising with the metronome cannot be over emphasized. It is sad that a lot of Musicians still don’t practise with the metronome, some that do, still don’t use it effectively.
These are 3 benefits of practising with the metronome.
- Practising with a metronome improves your timing, reducing the tendency to increase or reduce the tempo
- Practising with metronome helps track your progress. You have a very precise knowledge on where you stand with what you are practicing, as well as your rate of improvement. At some point, you couldn’t play that exercise/scale/phrase at a certain speed with accuracy.
- Working with a metronome enables you to increase your speed gradually so that each increase is almost unnoticeable from one speed to the next. Without a metronome, you would likely end up increasing your speed in increments that are too large. Also, the metronome will ensure that you don’t slow down in particularly difficult spots once you start getting up to a higher speed. Slowing down in these spots could happen unconsciously without a metronome keeping you locked in on the beat.
If you haven’t been practising with the metronome, you can start TODAY!
2. Practise Slow
This is very uncommon among musicians most especially the Beginners. You want to practise a technique and then BOOM! you are flash and you end up developing a wrong habit. When practising fast passages or new techniques, etc.
It is very important you practise them slow in order to get a firm grip and accuracy. The secret to playing fast is playing slow. Why should you practise slow?
It is a great way to develop fingering, technique, articulation and in depth understanding of what exactly you are practising.
If you haven’t been practising slow, You can start Today. This tip is for all Musicians including Vocalist.
3. Practise Goals
As simple as this is, It has worked, it is still working, and will always work. Setting goals enables you to practise diligently and efficiently, it also determines how you practise. It is not just enough to set goals, they must be achieved at whatever cost.
There are long term goals, short term goals and practise session goals.
- Long term goals refers to what you really want to achieve in this musical journey or where you see yourself at the ending of your musical adventure. For instance, maybe as a jazz musician, opera singer, playing a particular style of music, music educator, etc. Your long term goals might change as you continue to advance. Your long term goal affects other goals and the way you practise.
- Short term goals are what you want to acheive in a short period of time, weeks or months.These goals should be related to your long term goals. As a Signer, it could be expanding your vocal range, a new technique, etc. These could take weeks or months to acheive but it is very possible to achieve if by proper planing. This planing leads to practise session goals.
- Practise sessions goals are what you want to acheive that very moment you are about to practise. You must be very strict with this one. It could be to get a particular technique at a particular tempo or learn a new thing. Remember that the end result of your practise session goals contribute to your short term goals.
4. Mental Play
The most important aspect of learning a musical instrument (including vocals) is brain development and higher intelligence. We are going to learn how to play music in our minds – this is called Mental Play, which naturally leads to absolute pitch and the ability to compose music.
Mental Play is simply the process of imagining the music in your mind, or even actually playing it on an imaginary instrument ( if you can’t imagine it, you will have issues playing it). Mental Play controls practically everything we do in music, from the learning process (technique) to memorization, absolute pitch, performance, composition, music theory.
To understand more on Mental Play, read through the comprehensive post we did on that sometime ago , click Here
5. Practise Techniques
“Playing your instrument is necessarily not the same as practising. – Read that again.
Practise is a constant act to improve your skills and it is done to gain perfection. As a Vocalist, singing series of songs doesn’t necessarily mean you are practising. As a Pianist, playing while singing songs doesn’t necessarily mean you are practising.
What exactly should you Practise?
There is no definite answer to this, it depends on your goals but TECHNIQUES are very important and are infact the foundation to your professionalism.
When you practise your instrument, you should work hard to improve your techniques. You can create series of warm up exercises for this. Techniques varies with Instruments.
Some examples are Hand independence, fingers flexibility, strength,for Pianist. For Singers, Breath control, Voice control, etc
But also note that it is more important to practise these techniques rightly!
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A very common one, we all know it but do we all practise it? Sadly no!
A lot of Musicinas give up after few attempts. In order to make it part of you, you have to go over it again and again. So every time you miss a note or you aren’t getting it correctly, repeat it correctly 500 times(I don’t mean this literally but as much as you can go over it without making mistake)
7. Record Yourself
Recording yourself is a very good one – audio or video. it allows you listen back and catch some things you may miss in the moment. The best way to hear exactly how you sound like is listening to your recording. It also helps you find tone issues
Also videoing yourself allows you watch yourself and alert you to tension issues that you didn’t know, postures, reactions and much more.
8. Learn from Other instruments
Learning concepts from other instruments is a very good one and will increase your vocabulary as a Musician. it lets you understand how other instrument function.
Practising other instruments does not mean learning how to play another instrument. it means practising technique, concepts, scales, runs, it could be anything from a said instrument. For instance, A vocalist can practise a piano solo by scathing or any other instrument. A guitarist can practise a nice solo from a Horn player and so on.
When you stumble on concepts or techniques that you like, it ain’t bad practising them on your own instrument, most times, it takes months to get them right because of the different architecture of the instruments.
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9. Jam Sessions
If you are reading this thinking this is a perfect excuse for you to jam when you should be practising, you are very wrong. Jamming is very good but it should not take the place of practise.
Jamming is a very good way to improve your techniques, especially when it is with a group of other Musicians. It exposes you to new ideas and concepts and a perfect opportunity to try them out.
Playing with other people most times exposes your weaknesses and strengths, improves your improvisation skills and more importantly you get very honest feedback.
PS: Jamming should not replace your Practise Sessions.
Time! Time! Time!
The one thing almost everyone try to cheat but the sad truth is that they end up cheating themselves.
Patience is one of the most important quality you must posses as a Musician seeking improvement. No one becomes an expert overnight. It takes lot of consistent efforts and TIME!
There are times when it would look like you are actually making no progress or you have spent a lot of time trying to get just one thing out.
Just keep at it till you get it right.
Don’t forget to share this post to help other Musicians.
Feel free to drop your comments for questions or suggestions!