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Here is Perfect Practice, Issue #005 - Live practice workshops and more
November 27, 2015

Apologies for the earlier email sent accidentally! It seems that during the time i haven't used the newsletter application I have forgotten how it works. More practice clearly required!

Creative Solutions To All Of Your Practice Problems

Welcome to Issue 5 of the Perfect Practice monthly newsletter.

If you have a friend or student who would also benefit from improving the effectiveness of their practice, please do them (and me) a big favor and forward this to them.

If a friend DID forward this to you and you like what you read, please subscribe. Just click here to subscribe

A Personal Note

It has been a long time since the last issue! Just after I started the site I took a new job in an international school Music department that needed a LOT of work, so over the past few years I really haven't had time to do much with either the Essential Music Practice site or keep up with the newsletter.

However, I finally do have time to work on updating the site and have already started updating the design (as you will see if you go to the Essential Music Practice homepage) and getting back to putting out a Perfect Practice newsletter each month - so expect more helpful practice hints coming your way in 2016!

I will also probably be delivering some observations on how other areas of music are affected by practice as I am starting an MA In Orchestration for Films, Games and TV in January and it will be interesting to see if practical music practice techniques transfer over to composition and orchestration!

So, with that said, on with the issue..

In this issue

1. Make it easier to keep your new year practice resolutions. - We all make resolutions, but how long do we keep them and is there a way of making this easier?

2. Live online practice workshops coming soon. I have had lots of emails asking about going into schools and studios to talk about music practice technique, but some are just too far away so I am going to run a live online practice workshop. When is a good time for you?

3. What instrument do you play? - I have been talking to various instrumentalists about giving some detailed practice advice for particular instruments. Have your say about which instrument comes first.

4. Practice tip of the month - Excellent is a choice - It's very easy to pass the buck for difficulties we have when learning a piece of music, but basically it's down to us!


Make It Easier To Keep Your Practice Resolutions in 2016

We all do it. We make New Year's resolutions about so many things, often including music practice and we start of with the best of intentions, but as February looms many people find it increasingly difficult to stick with them.

One of the problems is that we often pick too many resolutions and we are overawed - our brains just can't cope. It is far better to make a few resolution and really make an effort to stick to them because our will power is a limited resource. We literally 'run out' of will power and if you have a long list of resolutions you are trying to keep it is far more likely you will run out of will power. Florida State University psychologist Roy Baumeister calls this 'ego depletion' and it is even affected by the glucose level in your blood. So, if you have made a resolution to do more music practice and go on a diet as well you are pretty much in a catch-22!

However, all is not lost! You can actually use this knowledge to your advantage! When it comes to new years resolutions just make one and save the others for different times of the year, one at a time. It may even be better to start your resolutions before or after new year, especially if you are in a habit of not keeping them. It's easy to say, "Oh, it's just a New Year's resolution - nobody keeps those" and harder to convince yourself that it's ok to drop the goal you made for yourself on 8th December without a good reason!

So, if you want to practice more or improve your practice technique in 2016 maybe start before the end of 2015 and make one resolution at a time. That way you will give yourself the best chance of success.

Find more on how to improve your practice habits and techniques here

Live Practice Workshops Coming Soon...

In the past few years I have been into many schools and colleges to talk to students and teachers about music practice and how it can be improved and have requests from quite a few others around the world. The problem is that some are so far away, and while many are places I would like to visit there is a time (and money) constraint! Schools in UK or Europe are fairly quick and easy to get to, but flying across the world for a presentation, Q&A session and an afternoon practice masterclass with some students isn't really practical.

I have decided that one way forward is to have a series of online music practice workshops that can address specific issues and finish with a Q&A session for people who have specific practice issues to address. In the future, I may even try and stream a live masterclass so it is easy to see how to deal practically with practice issues, but to start with i will run the workshops.

The problem for me is trying to time them to enable the most people to take part and benefit. So, if you are interested in attending, please fill in the Google Form (you don't need to be logged in and I will receive no personal information at all) to give me an idea of your location, what times/days you would be interested in attending and your instrument and level. That way I can offer it at a couple of times that are most convenient for most people (even if I have to get up in the middle of the night in the UK!).

It won't take long so please fill out the form here if you are interested in attending

Your Instrument And Level

I am currently lining up several top instrumentalists to write some guest articles on the Essential Music Practice site about specific practice techniques for their particular instruments. These will be going live during the course of 2016 and I will let you know in the Perfect Practice newsletter how things are progressing. Some may be videos demonstrating specific techniques and others will be articles or written interviews.

If you would like to have your say about which instruments come first just fill in this very short survey. The instrument with the most responses gets to go first!

Practice Tip Of The Month - Excellence Is A Choice

This is something I say to my students constantly. Being excellent at music, in fact at many things in life, means that you have to make the choice. So many people want to excel at music, maths, sport, writing... we all say we want to be excellent. But how many of us actually make a clear choice of, "I choose that i am going to excel in this and I am going to practice and work at it until I have either achieved my goal of excellent or found that I have reached the highest level it is possible for me to reach"?

When I ask my students who say they want to be "really amazing piano players" or "the next Courtney Pine" I ask what they are actually doing to achieve that goal. How they have altered their practice whether it be in terms of time, what they aim to achieve each week or in terms of developing better practice techniques and the answer is often a shuffling of feet and silence.

If you (or your child or student) is striving for excellent ask the questions, "And what have you done towards achieving that this week?". It might be a good time to talk about the New Year's resolution they are going to make!

Have your say

If you have something to say about practice in general, a tip to help other readers, you want to share a practice related story or you would like to contribute an idea or article to the Perfect Practice newsletter please click here to contact me.

In the next issue more about specific practical New Year resolutions you can make to help get more from your practice and a review of the ScaleBox App which I am trialling now.

Thanks for reading and to my US readers, hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

practice makes perfect

Remember my book Practice Makes Perfect is available! Make your music practice more efficient and effective. Easy to read and containing over 140 pages of advice on how to practice, musical goal setting, practice games, exams and further tips on using the music practice charts on this site as well as other invaluable practice advice Practice Makes Perfect is an "essential read for all musicians".
Click here for more information on Practice Makes Perfect. HUGE FREE UPDATE COMING SOON!
Copyright info I'm not a big fan of the way copyright laws operate in the world today. I could spend a huge amount of my time surfing the internet looking for people who have copied or translated parts of the Perfect Practice newsletters...however, I think it would be far more valuable to spend my time researching practice further and getting the information out to other musicians.

Therefore, you are free to copy, forward or reproduce the content in this newsletter in any form you wish. I would appreciate an attribution and/or a link back to the Essential Music Practice website - but if you don't I won't come chasing you. You are free to use the information in any way whether commercial or non-commercial...if you make a million you can buy me a drink sometime!

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