Practice Tips

It’s not very surprising that out of the 118 student answers to the question, “Why do you like music?” not one answer had anything to do with practicing. Students often view practice as a negative and frustrating activity. Here are some tips to help make practicing less frustrating and more fun.

You should try to practice:


  • A ‘little and often’ is better than a long session the night before your next lesson. If you neglect your instrument for even a few days you will lose some of the benefit of your hard work.
  • Practice when you are relaxed and when there aren’t too many distractions.


  • If you make a mistake and repeat it, it can take much longer to correct it.
  • You don’t always have to start at the beginning of a piece. It is sometimes better to tackle the hard bits first while you are fresh.
  • Your teacher teaches you once a week, the rest of the time you teach yourself. Imagine your teacher is looking over your shoulder.


  • Frustration, anger, and boredom are dangerous enemies. Remember that all the best musicians worked for many hours to produce the beautiful sounds that we admire. They must have experienced those feelings too.
  • Some days it can be hard just to get started. Try to remember how you felt on the days you played really well.


  • When you know a piece quite well try giving a practice performance to a friendly audience – mom, dad, neighbor, dog, cat….
  • Listen to recordings and go to live concerts, especially those involving your instrument.
  • Make up some music of your own. If you only know a few notes remember that some of the most beautiful tunes are very simple.

As always, any practice concern should be talked over with your teacher. All teachers at Arboretum Music School have been trained to deal with issues and problems of practicing. Ask the experts any time for help and feel free to read through the binder of practice tips that can be found in our waiting area.