Welcome back everyone! Spring is here, the season of new life and growth, so why not inject some new energy into your music practice!? Nurture your technique and get those musical skills bloomin’! Here are ten practising techniques which will help you improve this term.

1. Set the moodDon’t underestimate how important your surroundings are when trying to get down to some hard practice; distractions can be a pain so make sure you find somewhere quiet where you can concentrate. Practising in the same location each day can help the mind associate the ritual of going to this place with the intention of getting some good work in, so find yourself a little space and stake your claim!

2. Warm up and cool down! – We can’t all be sports nuts but the benefits of a good warm up and cool down are well known to musicians too! A warm up not only prepares your muscles for work, but also focuses the mind. Why not try fifteen minutes of scales or a bit of sight-reading? To cool down, bang out a piece you know well and enjoy playing, a bit of a reward for plodding through the hard stuff.
3. “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”  – As satisfying as it can be to play a piece perfectly, playing through music you know well isn’t the same as practising. Begin with an idea of what you’d like to achieve and lay out your practice session to accomplish it. With smaller, achievable goals, you’ll get that motivating feeling of accomplishment each session!

4. Little and often! – As tempting as it may be, leaving all of your instrumental practice to the night before your lesson won’t really help you improve, even if you bash out three hours in one go. Practise smaller amounts on a more regular basis, chipping away at your problem areas each day. Practise smarter, not longer!

5. It’s not what you know, it’s what you don’t! – As fun as it may be to play the easy bits over and over again, it’s the tricky passages that need the most attention. Focus on those small phrases and give them some direct attention.

6. Write on your musicmusicians have always scribbled on their scores; rafts of music can be a little daunting, and small notes can help break it up, reminding you of correct fingering, dynamics or a key change.

7. Record yourself– technology is a wonderful thing!Recording yourself playing can often be useful in highlighting areas that are tripping you up.
8. The beginning…a very good place to start? – It often seems to make sense to start at the very beginning when practising a piece of music. In reality, if each session starts at the beginning of a piece, the front end may sparkle whilst the rest lags behind. Don’t be afraid to start in the middle!

9. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you! Like anything else in life, the best improvement happens outside of your comfort zone. Push yourself!

10. Sometimes you gotta treat yo’self! –Whatever it is that keeps you motivated, use it as a reward for all your hard work. Congratulate yourself, you’re pretty darned amazing!

Have a lovely week everyone!