One of the biggest obstacles to overcome as a student, a pro-musician or teacher is the art of finding time to practice your instrument. Let me assure you that 9 times out of ten its feels like pulling teeth, when its practice time. Without practice we don't improve! We possibly waste time and money on costly books, lessons, or classes. This can be a huge obstacle for some people to overcome. Let me give you 4 tips to help you move past the drudgery of making yourself practice.
1) Make it fun!
As musicians and students of music we all need to be improving and not just working on the things that we enjoy. We need to work on techniques that stretch us as players. But if we want to see growth in most areas of our practice and musicianship we have to leave time during practice to have fun. If you make %100 of your practice time about getting better then practice time can often feel like a pain. Make sure to leave yourself time to have fun. What do you enjoy playing or grooving on? Play those things. Spend most of your practice time working on areas to improve on or techniques/songs to work on. Then, reward yourself at the end of practice time by allowing yourself to play things that are just fun. This will keep you motivated and wanting to come back for more!
2) Schedule time
This may seem like a no brainer, but most people don't physically do this. I'm talking about taking your schedule and writing in times for practice. When those times pop up on your calendar, treat them just like you would any other appointment. When its time to practice, it's time to practice. If you don't think you have time in your schedule to practice your instrument, let me ask you this. How much TV do you watch in a week? How long are you on Facebook, Pintrist, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube in a week? How many times a week do you play video games or browse the internet? I think you get the point. If you are serious about improving you will take your practice time serious as well. Remember, you're going to make it fun also! :)
3) Who's keeping you accountable?
Thats right! Have you ever heard about an accountability partner? If not, you should get one now. This is one of the greatest tips that can lead to huge improvement and lots of practice. A true accountability partner wont make you feel guilty but motivate you to practice and inspire you to get better. This could be a spouse, friend, or even private lessons teacher. Ask someone to keep you accountable and motivate you to get better.
4) Get Inspired
This is huge for all of us. Its possibly one of the main reasons we force ourselves to sit down and practice. After going to a clinic or watching a video of our favorite musician all we want to do is play and get better. So, get out there and get inspired. Go to a show, watch a video of your favorite musician, buy a new album, listen to an old album, go to a clinic, take a class. Whatever motivates you to practice, do it! And make it a habit.
If you follow these four tips I can assure you that you will see huge payoff in your personal practice time. Which, in turn will lead to huge payoff in your playing, technique, and overall musicianship.