Practice should be something you want to do rather than have to do. Don’t do the same old things in the same old way try using tactics which will help you enjoy your practice more.
1. Achieve something every day
If you can see that you are getting a little better every day you are much more likely to want to do some practice the next day. In fact you will find that you want to do MORE practice and you’ll have great satisfaction from the practice that you do.
2. Learn music you love
What’s you favourite tune? Which pieces and players do you admire? Try to incorporate a few of those into your practice.
3. Play with friends
Don’t just wait for other organised groups. Start your own or invite your friends around for ad-hoc practice sessions. It’s not only fun but can be helpful to hear a different perspective on your playing.
4. Challenge yourself
Set yourself a target. Perhaps learn one new piece every week or a new scale every day. It could even be outside your core instrumental practice – go to a concert everyday for a week or read a new blog everyday. There are lots of options which can be really fun.
5. Broaden your horizons
Read books, study history, listen to music, go to concerts, browse the internet, join discussion forums, play in groups, compose, improvise, do a review, learn about other performers . . . . . . .
6. Go to a concert
Concerts are always useful – even when they are not that good you can learn something. Try finding a concert where the performers are playing pieces that you play. What are they doing differently? Of course you can always go to a concert or festival just for the sheer joy!
7. Listen and learn
Put some time aside specifically for listening to music. Listen to pieces you play as well as new music. This is a lifelong search for music that interests you. You won’t like all that you hear but everything will build your knowledge and experience.
8. Talk about it
Discuss your practice with friends. There will be things you find tricky that your friends find easy. How did they overcome their problems? They might have some tips you could find useful.
This is particularly important if you have a more ‘classical’ background. Take some time to simply play whatever comes to your mind. Don’t feel as though you need to comply with any sort of harmonic constraints just play what you feel.
10. Have other interests
I would be surprised if anyone spends more time thinking about music practice than me!! However I believe it can be counter productive to spend too much time practising. I have have seen musicians practice for eight or ten hours every day. Whilst maybe OK for short periods I would say this is not healthy in the long run. Make sure you get out of the practice room and do other things. The experiences you gain from other activities will bring more colour to your music making.