There are many factors that determine if you’re a good musician or not. Having a good technique and an appropriate language on your instrument, for example, is fundamental for it and there’s only one way to improve them: practice.
To practice is not easy for everyone, because sometimes it’s complicated to find time to dedicate to it, and if you only have 10 mins a day you could just prefer to play a song instead.
So I’m here today to give you some tips for a good practice routine and try to make it easier for you.
First of all, you have to make your goals clear to yourself and understand what kind of musician you want to be. Ask yourself what do you want to learn and what would make you more satisfied about your playing, so you can choose the correct exercises. Ask yourself what’s your level, at the moment, compared with the musician you want to become and how big is the gap that separates you from your goals, so you’ll understand how much you need to practice.
Having objectives to be achieved is a very good way to start.
If you did this you’re ready to begin with your practice routine plan. Where to start from?
1) Best results come with a daily approach. Find a moment in your day you’re free and make the most of that. It would be better if it’s the same every day, so you can maintain a routine, but if your schedule make it hard for you, you can try planning your weekly free time to have an idea when you can practice day by day.
2) Ten focused minutes are better than one hour of continuous distractions. If you’re bored or tired than reduce your practice time, and if you feel you can’t concentrate just stop.
Play a song, or don’t play at all. Remember though that concentration is an ability you can improve, you have to take the habit of been focused on studying for the period of time you need.
3) Record your progress: make a video or audio recording, take notes of bpm of your exercises. If you’re doing technique exercises always use a metronome and start slowly with the speed you’re more comfortable. Pick up metronome few bpm at a time, and make sure you’re playing correctly before to continue. If you increase the speed while you’re still making mistakes the exercise will be pretty useless.
4) If you can, leave the bass out of the bag even when you’re not playing, so you’ll be ready in a second and you won’t waste time in preparing the gear.
5) Co-working: if you have a friend who also has some work to do, you can consider to study together. Having an engagement with someone can give you more reasons to do things, even if the work you have to do is different. On the other hand, if the other person studies the same thing of yours you can compare to each other. I used to do this with my classmate at the music school and it worked well.
6) Don’t avoid your weakness points. If you’re studying it’s because there’s something in your playing you want to improve, and if you want to improve it it’s because you’re not satisfied. If you only practice on what you already know well you’re only reconfirming your skills, and you’ll never get better.
I’d like to make one thing clear: this article refers particularly on that kind of practice made by exercises, scales, modes and so forth. But practice is not only how much time you spend playing scales and exercises, but also the time you choose to dedicate to your instrument in any way.
Listening, for example, is an activity that can really improve your playing, and you don’t need to have the bass to do it. When you listen to music and you’re paying attention, you’re practicing. When you’re playing with your band in the rehearsals room, you’re practicing. Of course it’s a different kind of study, but any of this activities develop music skills and they’re all important.
Either than you do your exercises or play a song, the best thing you can do is to dedicate some time every day to play. This will help you taking the habit and you’ll become more and more confident with the instrument.
Disclaimer: don’t practice without amplifier or headphones. If you do you won’t be able to recognise if your sound is good and you will tend to pick the strings harder than necessary with your right hand to hear better.
As usual, I hope I’ve been helpful with this guide! Let me know if my suggestions work for you!
See you next week,