Practice Habits Of Great Musicians
Howdy! A Portland, OR native, I currently reside in the northern San Diego County area as a freelance writer. When I'm not sipping coffee, soaking up some rays and writing or playing guitar you can find me at the hot yoga studio.
These practices allowed these great musicians to become masters of their craft.
Mastering any skill involves practicing diligently in the form of repetitive practice.
The number one contributing factor to being a good musician is how much you practice.
Your performance can only improve with more practice.
Practice for a long time. It might sound cliché, but the longer you practice, the better you'll become.
This is especially true with piano players. Students have learned that the most effective way to learn is to spend several hours each day for a long period of time.
However, that's actually counter-productive because when you play for a long time, your fingers are not fresh.
If you don't work your fingers at all, your instrument will break.
In fact, most of these great artists could be described as masters in their respective musical genres, and their practice habits tell the story of their dedication to mastering their crafts.
Dedication to practice
Every great musician is, in fact, a Master of Practice.
The great artists practice all day long.
Being a master of practice is the difference between a musician who can get by and a truly great musician.
It’s the people who practice constantly that are the true masters of the practice.
They understand that practice is not an end in itself, it’s a means to an end.
Practice is merely the study of how to achieve specific goals.
For example, an aspiring guitarist would never choose a song by Van Halen because it’s easy.
That song will only be enjoyable to him if he studies it, practices it, understands it, and eventually can do it in a way that’s impossible for him to do, even for himself.
An aspiring guitarist would never choose a song by Metallica because it’s easy.
That song would only be enjoyable to him if he understands it and has memorized it in a way that it would be impossible for him to do, even for himself.
Van Halen’s a great band. Metallica’s a great band.
It’s the people who practice consistently and hard, for years, who are truly masters of their craft
A great guitarist plays a song in the practice room, or a great drummer plays a drum track, hundreds, if not thousands of times until they can perform it perfectly.
A guitar player isn’t just playing a song, but they’re playing the entire song, performing every part with precision and perfection.
They’re like Neo from The Matrix.
They know that they’re performing in the Matrix, and they want to go back.
A drummer doesn’t just play the kick drum in a song, but they’re hitting every part of the kick drum, in perfect unison with every other part, like an orchestra playing a musical piece in perfect unison.
They’re the ultimate virtuosos.
If you want to be a great musician, you must practice like a genius.
Practice longer and harder
The purpose of practice is to enhance performance, or, to improve how well you can play.
How can you improve performance?
Practice, Practice, Practice.
Go to sleep thinking about what you want to accomplish the next day.
During the night, make yourself study your charts or practice for 10 or more minutes, preferably an hour, to learn the song better.
Learn the entire song.
Go back through and make corrections in your parts.
Learn the chords.
Learn the chords in the correct order.
Learn and everything about the song.
Practice the whole song from beginning to end.
Go back through and correct and memorize everything you did the day before, and repeat.
Make a song-study schedule that has you working on one song for at least two hours every day.
Study until you’re so tired that you can’t stay awake.
If you practice for 90 minutes and you don’t want to practice anymore, stop.
The purpose of practice is to make you a better musician.
Excellence, not perfection
Often, people who practice in isolation to create perfection will become frustrated if they don’t have perfection.
They try to create perfection by practicing harder and harder, but they don’t actually become better, and they never get better.
They’ll just get worn out and end up failing.
If you practice becoming better, you can always find a few things that you can fix that will improve your ability.
Instead of being perfectionists, practice to become good.
If you practice being perfect, you’ll constantly be chasing perfection and never improve, even if you’re extremely talented.
Like in golf, perfection is unattainable.
Practice to become better, and let perfect take care of itself.
If you’re a guitarist, you’ll first want to know about Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, the two greatest guitar players ever.
While studying them, you can learn about how to become better, and you can also learn how to create guitar riffs and solos that are both popular and beautiful.
This is what Guitar Tricks was created to help you do.