How to get the most out of your practise session!

Practise. As you may remember, we posted a blog recently about how long to practise for, but how can we make that practise time fun and effective? Here are a few ideas.

Setting up an instrument can take up quite a bit of time and can often be the barrier between a young musician and beginning a practise session – that double bass case is heavy and probably taller than you! How about helping to motivate your young children to practise by setting up their instrument for them? You could get the music stand out, put the music on the stand, put the rosin on the bow, assemble the clarinet etc. Do whatever is needed so they don’t have to do the annoying and frustrating setting up bit and can go straight to the practice. That way they can put all their energy into the practise.

Focussing for long periods of time can be pretty tricky, especially after a long day at school! BDMA tutor Phillipa Thomas has a great suggestion,  why not merge practise time with chill out time by practising scales in the TV breaks of your favourite show? All those five minute breaks add up – four telly breaks worth of practise could equal 15 – 20 minutes of mastering those tricky technical exercises.

Fitting in practise around school and homework can be a bit of a bother, right? Well, maybe not – why not try practising for 5 minutes before school every day or just before dinner? Becky used to wake up half an hour early every morning to start the day with a spot of morning practise and Louise worked up an appetite by practising every day before dinner. Finding a set time to practice in helps it become part of a routine and therefore a lot easier to do.

Practising the same things every day can make you quickly lose interest. Why not try mixing it up a bit? Practise scales one day, pieces the next day and liven everything up by practising your favourite pieces between those tricky technical exercises.

Becky recently had to do some tv work which needed to be done with a metronome for precision filming (oh er) and it reminded her how useful it is to practice with a metronome and how much it improves one’s practice. Why not give it a go? Here are some metronomes that we recommend:

Here’s a great analogue one:

http://www.alangregory.co.uk/music/Wittner_Taktell_Piccolo_Ruby_Red_Metronome.html?gclid=CKXmjtbA57wCFWoOwwodclgAAg

You can also get many free app versions. We use this one:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/metronome/id287965434?mt=8

Rockschool also did their 5 best here:

http://www.rockschool.co.uk/news/newsarticles/newsarticle.aspx?NA=123

You should practise because you want to get better, not because your teacher is telling you – practising should be fun, not a chore! We hope that using these tips you can tailor your practise sessions to make them fun, exciting and effective. Happy practising!

If you practise really hard then you could end up playing at the Royal Albert Hall like one of Becky’s previous students, shown here on the left on the big screen!

Mabel - Royal Albert Hall