Music Practice Links 17th December 2012


We want to help you practice better. Our newsfeed will keep you up to date with regular advice. Free personal help is available in our practice clinic and new news and offers can be found in our newsletter.

It’s been quite a while since our last round up from the world of music practice on the web. In that time a few new sites dealing with music practice have arrived and we’ll be reviewing some of those in the coming weeks. For now, onto the links . . . . . .

  1. How to Apply Focused Practice to Music Note Reading from the Music Reading Savant
  2. Brief article on how to practice a cover song in stages
  3. Stack Exchanges forums have a section dedicated to Music Practice and Performance
  4. Dr B’s Music Practice Guide provides a comprehensive look at the whole topic of music practice
  5. Savvy lessons provides some practice tips for beginners and some motivation help
  6. Here’s an interesting comparison between musicians and athletes
  7. Music in practice presents some ideas on making music fun
  8. An old favourite, the Musicians Way, suggests Performance-Oriented Practice
  9. If you need any more persuading here are 10 reasons why you should study music

Enjoy your practice!

Site re-build continues

Work continues to get all the old HTP content available again to our readers. Along with the newly revised content will be some other subtle changes to the site.

  • Everyone will have access to all content from the old site – no need to create an account and signup. Everything from the old site will be totally free!
  • We’re making it easier for you to get practice help. There will still be the option of help via the Practice Clinic but you’ll also be able to get faster help and we’ll be stepping up support for our twitter community.
  • Simplified design – we’re removing all the fluff and keeping it simple – just good advice on how to practice better.
You can see our progress on the rebuild so far by visiting any of the Practice Method sections. Several of the Resource sections are also complete including, humour, games, polls, quotes and bibliography.
Stay tuned for more. In the meantime, as always, Enjoy your practice!


Malware recovery

Unfortunately, How To Practice was recently the victim of a Malware attack which installed some malicious code on the site and attempted to drive our visitors elsewhere. Luckily we detected this very early and as a result have had to take the site down whilst we resolve the issues.

The infection appears to be deep and difficult to detect so we have therefore taken the decision to re-build the site from the bottom up. All of the old content will become available again over the next few weeks and our Music Practice Diaries will still be available.

In the meantime we appreciate the patience and understanding of our users and as always . . . . .

Enjoy your practice!

Root Cause

Fix the cause of common mistakes.

For this method you will need a selection of pieces and a notepad.

Play through your music and each time you make a mistake stop and mark the music. Once you have finished one piece go onto the next. Try to pick a few pieces in different styles.

For each place you marked a mistake try to decide what caused that mistake. Was it fingering? How about embouchure or breathing? Once you have identified the cause add it to your list.

When you have finished listing the causes of your mistakes re-order them so that the most frequent are at the top of your list and the least frequent are at the bottom.

You can now focus your practice on the areas at the top of your list.


Klickstein, Gerald. 2009. The Musician's Way. N: Oxford University Press.

Ottley, Ron. 2009. Now I Love Music Practice. Dunedin, New Zealand: Eileen Margaret Publishing.

Harris, Paul. 2008. Improve Your Teaching. London: Faber Music.

Jorgensen, Estelle. 2008. The Art of Teaching Music. Indiana University Press.

Bonetti, Ruth. 2007. Practice Was a Dirty Word Music Journal. Queensland, Australia: Words and Music.

Chang, Chuan. 2007. Fundamentals of Piano Practice. BookSurge Publishing.

Heimberg, Tom. 2007. "To Preserve, Protect, and Defend. . . Practice Time." In Making a musical life,, 1-131. San Anselmo: String Letter Publications.

Johnston, Philip. 2007. Practiceopedia: The Music Student's Illustrated Guide to Practicing. Pearce: Practicespot Press.

Whykes, Susan. 2007. Mind Over Matter. Bloomington: Author House.

Beers, Deborah. 2006. "A Mind-Body Approach." American Music Teacher, 56, 24-27.

Brooks, K. 2006. "A Guide to Effective Practice." American Suzuki Journal, 24, 63-66.

Buswell, David. 2006. Performance Strategies for . Stansted Abbotts: MX Publishing.

Gane, Patricia. 2006. Making Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Snell, Howard. 2006. The Art of Practice. London: Pen Press.

Stringer, Mark, Lucinda Mackworth-Young, Nick Beach, Philipa Bunting, Rosie Cross, Simon Young, Nicholas Keyworth, Trevor Hawes, Sara Shaw, Nigel Stubbs, and Isobel Liebman. 2005. The Music Teacher's Handbook. London: Faber Music.

Cooper, Ted. 2004. "Small Moments Big Impact: Teaching First-Year Students How to Practice." American Music Teacher, 54, 33-35.

Harris, Paul. 2004. Improve Your Practice! London: Faber Music, Grade 5.

Johnston, Philip. 2004. Promoting Your Teaching Studio. Pearce: Practicespot Press.

Green, Barry. 2003. The Mastery of Music. New York: Random House.

Hammel, Bruce. 2003. "Motivating Through Efficient and Effective Practicing." American Music Teacher, 53, 39-41.

Patton, Julie. 2003. Maximizing Your Studio's Potential. Tucson: Purple Lizard Press.

Westney, William. 2003. The Perfect Wrong Note. Pompton Plains, New Jersey: Amadeus Press, 1st.

Bonetti, Ruth. 2002. Practice Is A Dirty Word. The Gap, Queensland: Words and Music.

Bradley, Jane. 2002. "Success in Half an Hour a Week." American Music Teacher, 51, 20-21.

Elson, Margaret. 2002. Passionate Practice - Musicians Guide To Learning, Memorizing and Performing. Oakland, CA: Regent Press, 1st.

Storms, Jerry. 2001. 101 More Music Games For Children. Alameda, CA: Hunter House.

Sand, Barbera. 2000. Teaching Genius: Dorothy DeLay and the Making of a Musician. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press.

Williamon, Aaron and Elizabeth Valentine. 2000. "Quantity And Quality Of Musical Practice As Predictors Of Performance Quality." British Journal of Psychology, 91, 353.

. 1999. Musician's Practice Planner. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard.

Clawson, Mary. 1999. "Masculinity and skill acquisition in the adolescent rock band." Popular Music, 18 (1): 99-115.

Haid, Karen. 1999. "Coping with Performance Anxiety." Teaching Music, 7, 40.

Cope, Peter. 1998. "Knowledge, meaning and ability in musical instrument playing." British Journal of Music Education, 15 (3): 263-271.

Hamann, D, K Lucas, P McAllister, and D Teachout. 1998. "An Investigation into the Factors Contributing to Individual Practice." Journal of Band Research, 3, 59-69.

Bruser, Madeline. 1997. The Art of Practicing. New York: Bell Tower.

Cope, Peter and H Smith. 1997. "Cultural context in musical instrument learning." British Journal of Music Education, 14 (03): 283-289.

Davidson, Jane and Jonathan Smith. 1997. "A case study of 'newer practices' in music education at conservatoire level." British Journal of Music Education, 14 (3): 251-269.

Fischer, Simon. 1997. Basics: 300 Exercises and Practice Routines for the Violin. London: Peters Edition Ltd.

Maisel, Eric. 1997. Performance Anxiety. New York: Back Stage Books.

Snitkin, Harvey. 1997. Practicing for Young Musicians: You Are Your Own Teacher. Niantic, CT: HMS Publications.

Adams, Noah. 1996. Piano Lessons: Music, Love and True Adventures. New York: Random House.

Sloboda, John, Michael Howe, Jane Davidson, and D Moore. 1996. "The role of parental influences in the development of musical ability." British Journal of Developmental Psychology (14): 399-412.

Sloboda, John, Jane Davidson, Michael Howe, and D Moore. 1996. "The role of practice in the development of performing musicians ." British Journal of Psychology (87): 287-309.

Crandall, Joanne. 1995. Self-Transformation Through Music. Wheaton: Quest Books, 1st.

Nichols, Dianne. 1995. "The Demons Within: Confronting Performance Anxiety." Chamber Music Magazine (12): 20-40.

Spruce, Gary. 1995. Teaching Music. Taylor & Francis Ltd, Open University Postgraduate Certificate in Education Course Readers.

Rogers, Carl. 1994. Freedom To Learn. New York: Prentice Hall, 3rd.

Bjornberg, Alf. 1993. "Teach you to rock?" Popular Music, 12 (1).

Bayton, Mavis. 1990. "How women become musicians." In On Record: Rock, Pop and the Written Word,, 201-220. London: Routledge.

Philip, Johnston. 1990. Not Until You've Done Your Practice. Pearce: Future Perfect Publishing.

Davidson, Jane, Michael Howe, John Sloboda, and D Moore. 1988. "Characteristics of music teachers and the progress of young instrumentalists." Journal of Research in Music Education, 46 (1): 141-160.

Rosenthal, R, M Wilson, M Evans, and L Greenwalt. 1988. "Effects of Different Practice Conditions on Advanced Instrumentalists - Performance Accuracy." Journal of Research in Music Education, 36 (10): 251-258.

O\'Connor, Joseph. 1987. Not Pulling Strings. London: Kahn & Averill.

Ross, S. 1987. "Mental Practice Techniques." Instrumentalist, 41 (8): 43-51.

Wilson, Wilson. 1987. Tone Deaf and All Thumbs?: An Invitation to Music-Making. New York: Vintage Books.

David, Blum. 1986. The Art of Quartet Playing: The Guarneri Quartet. Ithaca: Cornell.

Green, Barry and Timothy Gallwey. 1986. The Inner Game Of Music. New York: Pan Books.

Feynman, Richard. 1985. Surely You're Joking Mr. Feinman! New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Rosenthal, R. 1984. "The Relative Effects of Guided Model, Model Only, Guide Only, and Practice Only Treatments on the Accuracy of Advanced Instrumentalists - Musical Performance." Journal of Research in Music Education, 32 (10): 265-273.

Gerle, Robert. 1983. The Art of Practising the Violin. London: Stainer and Bell.

Eloise, Ristad. 1982. A Soprano On Her Head. Moab, Utah: Real People Press.

Bennett, Stith. 1980. On Becoming A Rock Musician. Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press.

Whone, Herbert. 1974. The Hidden Face of Music. London: Gollanz.

Foldes, Andor. 1948. Keys to the Keyboard. New York: E.P. Dutton.

Matthay, Tobias. 1913. Musical Interpretation, It's Laws and Principles, and Their Application in Teaching and Performing. Boston: The Boston Music Co..

Total Sensory Immersion

We want to help you practice better. Our newsfeed will keep you up to date with regular advice. Free personal help is available in our practice clinic and new news and offers can be found in our newsletter.

Are we all blind, unfeeling and without emotion?

Of course not!

Why then do a lot of musicians only use their hearing sense when practising? Yes, listening properly is VERY important. Make use of the other senses as well and you can make your music come alive, have more fun and learn things more quickly.


What can you see? Do you have music? What does it look like? In a performance take time to notice your surroundings.


Playing your instrument is NOT a purely mechanical process. What does your instrument feel like? Can you touch it in different ways? Where do you experience most pressure? Where is your touch the lightest? Is you instrument hot? Cold? Sticky? Soft?


Standing absolutely still may be the way you play. I’m guessing though that you actually move around a bit as you play. Notice what these movements are, embrace them and perhaps develop them. Without your instrument try moving and dancing with the music. How does it make you feel to move to the music? Which movements seem most appropriate?


How does your music make you feel inside? Think deeply about this. All the music you play should have some effect on you. If it does not affect you emotionally how can you expect your audience to experience any emotion? As you are doing this try to understand what it is about the music that makes you feel that way. Identify these things and you can do more of them to convey these feelings to your audience.

Taste & Smell

Are there any smells or tastes evoked by your playing?


Learn to listen in many ways. What does your playing sound like to the audience? How does your overall playing sound? What is the minute detail of that staccato note?

Spend some time to work through each of these senses. You may surprise yourself with new perspectives.