1. Warm Up
2. Practise often
Small, frequent practice sessions are more effective than one or two longer sessions each week.
3. Have a plan
Have immediate, short and long-term goals.
4. Develop a practise routine that works for you
5. Practise at you instrument and away from it
Next time you’re on a bus, plane or train, try practising without your instrument. Study the score, analyse the harmony, think through the phrasing. You will be amazed at how easy it is to become familiar with a piece when you don’t have your technique distracting you.
7. Make notes
Keep a pencil with your instrument and scribble as often as you need to in a practice journal or on your music. As you become more familiar with a piece you can start to remove unnecessary practise markings from the score.
8. Make noise
Don’t be afraid to sing, clap or count aloud.
9. Listen to different recordings of repertoire you are learning
Analyse aspects of technique, expression, style and interpretation.
10. Identify the problem
Don’t bash through a piece aimlessly, wondering why it hasn’t improved. Identify the problem and get to work on that particular passage.
11. Repetition is key
If you play a particular passage incorrectly 5 times in a row, then finally get it right on the sixth try, don’t move onto something else. In doing so, you have effectively practised the wrong thing 5 times and the correct passage only once. The number of times you play a passage correctly needs to far outweigh the number of times you played it incorrectly.
12. Decide on fingering and be consistent with it
Make decisions early in the process and stick with them.
13. Play as many details on your first read as possible
Dynamics, articulation, phrasing, etc are as much a part of the music as the pitches and rhythms.
14. Practise slowly
15. Refer constantly to lesson notes
Prior to each practice session, read over the lesson notes from your teacher.
16. Record yourself
This can sometimes help with Practise Tip #7.
17. Understand the difference between practice and play..
And make sure you do both!
18. Don’t practise when you are tired
You won’t achieve anything if you aren’t focused and concentrating when you practise. This only leads to frustration.
19. Be aware of your entire body, not merely your fingers
20. Be inspired
Feed yourself a steady diet of live performances, books on music, YouTube clips and audio recordings of your favourite performers.