Practice Tips!

You have always heard the saying, “practice makes perfect”, but I have a better saying, “Only perfect practice makes perfect”. By that I mean that the actual amount of time you practice doesn’t necessarily improve your ability, it’s how you practice that’s important. In this article I would like to address things that I’ve done or had students do over the years that are both good and bad, and how to improve your practice habits.
Suggested practicing lengths

For anyone practicing, no matter the age and level, there is a point during your practice in which you no longer retain information, both mentally and physically, and both are equally required for singing or playing an instrument. This is what I call the tired point. Practicing beyond this point will make you feel like you’re actually getting worse, but rest assured you are improving. You’ll see the difference the next time you play or sing. I do not recommend, however, continuing long after this point of tiredness. For each person this will be different depending on your age and level. Beginning students between the ages of about 5-9, the normal length of practice I suggest is 15-25 minutes, for an older child or adult beginner, it may be 30-40 minutes, and for higher levels, it may be 1-2 hours, again, depending on the level and age of the student. You will know when you hit that tired point. You can, however, break up your practicing into segments. So if you can only do 30 minutes, take a break and then practice another 30 minutes at a later time. Practicing at short segments but often is the best way to learn over a period of time. When I was studying for an audition for a college entry, I would practice 2 hours, then take a 15-20 minute break to stretch, walk, and get something to eat and drink. Your body and mind need this break to recuperate so that you can continue again and digest what you’re learning, both mentally and physically.


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