Description: Practice makes the master. But what if you only have a few minutes to practice music? Here are a few things you can do to make the most out of it.
As a musician, you probably understand that, usually, the most nourishing parts of a practice session come after it’s been a few minutes since you started and you are concentrated enough for your skills to develop. However, being a productivity freak, I often find myself obsessed with how to make the most out of those moments in-between classes or when I’m waiting for my girlfriend at the cafeteria. Thus, I ended up with a bunch of tips on how to practice music when you are short on time while actually getting results.
Mental rehearsals are very relaxing and thus, I personally like them a lot. If you do them right, they will actually help you to achieve meaningful improvements in short periods of time. Will it have the same effect as if you were playing a real instrument? No, but it will yield some improvement with the added benefit of helping you to stay calm and focus.
- In order to make mental rehearsal more effective, the following conditions must be met:
- It must have a coherent structure, in the same way, that a real practice does. You should be conscious of what you are practicing on, what the right way to do it is, and you should be able to self-assess your performance.
- It must be as vivid as possible. There are a number of techniques that add up to this goal. This is all about creating a representation in your mind, then focusing on it as if it was here and now.
The time required for a mental practice could be between five and fifteen minutes.
Attention plays a key role in our brain’s ability to develop new neural connections (neuroplasticity), as it is seen among people who suffer from paralysis and for whom the therapy consists of getting help to move their limbs, while they do a conscious effort to do so. This is why mechanical, mindless, practicing yields little to no improvement in a musician’s skill.
If you do not have a lot of time in your hands, then make sure you make the most out of what you have by being present at all times during your practice. Feel your instrument, be conscious of each note. Make sure you are handling potential distractions.
It’s better to practice mindfully over 10 minutes than doing it mechanically for two hours.
Focus on small sections of a piece
You don’t always have to play an entire piece for a practice to count. In fact, if that’s the only thing you do, you may be doing it wrong. Getting perfect at playing a piece is also about focusing on the small segments that cause you the most trouble. Having little time to practice means to have a perfect opportunity to focus on those sections that you are having problems with.
Make time for music
So you think these tips are great but you still can’t come to terms with not having enough time to play music? Then try and make time for it. If you are like me, then you are probably drowning in paper writing assignments.
Try to place an essay online order. It will take a time-consuming task out of your hands and will create the space you need to practice your music in full. Work on your organizational skills, or consider dropping out of what’s not important. If you really love music, like me, then I’m sure you’ll find a way to give it the time it deserves.