If you have followed the previous parts in this series on practice you should be very well placed to speed up your musical improvement. Even if you have not followed the suggestions, the very fact that you have spent time thinking about your musical future will be a help in improving your practice. In order to take this improvement to the highest level you will need to work on a daily basis towards the goals you have set yourself. The short term goals mentioned in the previous part will be very useful but specific targets and tasks for each day and week will really speed your progress.
Make sure you work with your teacher to set specific daily tasks that input to your short term goals – get metronome out and work towards that tempo you have set yourself.
This is one of the most often missing parts of practice routines. Many people have detailed routines and goals but on a day to day basis they have no idea if they are making progress towards their goals. Having targets also ensures that time is not the major driver of your practice. With targets you will always know where you are in your practice for that day. You can set yourself any number of things to achieve in a single practice session. For example learn 5 bars of music, learn a scale hands seperately, learn that lick you’ve always meant to but at half speed, memorise the first line, play your recital piece 3 times from memory. The beauty of having targets is that not only will you know that you have achieved something worthwhie in every practice session but you will also know exactly when you have finished for the day. If it only takes you 10 minutes to reach your targets for that session then great, go and do something else (though next time you might want to set the bar a little higher!)
What this site is all about – how are you going to practice. Read the methods here and equip yourself with the tools you need to practice effectively. Don’t start to practice until you know HOW you will do it.
Ask yourself, what have I done today to move me closer to my major goals?
In the final part of this series we will summarise all the things covered so far and will provide some sample plans and templates that you can use in your own practice planning.