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Here is Perfect Practice, Issue #006 - Live practice workshops and more
January 19, 2016

Creative Solutions To All Of Your Practice Problems

Welcome to Issue 6 of the Practical 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

RENAMING THE NEWSLETTER You may notice that I have renamed the newsletter from Perfect Practice to Practical Practice. I think this fits in better with what I want to achieve with this newsletter; practical practice solutions to music practice issues we find challenging as instrumentalists.

We all know that practice doesn't make perfect, but that Perfect Practice makes perfect, which is why I initially named the newsletter Perfect Practice.

I think on reflection that was just me trying to be smart and I hope that the new title is more aligned with my aims for the newsletter.

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

In this issue

1.Keeping your New Year's Resolutions - or getting back to them if you have fallen off the wagon!

2. Live online music practice workshop this Saturday!

3. Scale Practice App for iOS and Android.

4. Practice tip of the month - Yes, you need to practice scales! - Continuing with the scales theme a quote from flautist James Galway to make you think about how you practice scales.


New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday and has made some clear resolutions about music practice over the coming year… or do I?

Well, I do hope everyone enjoyed the holiday, but as for the resolutions I’m never so sure. Did you know that almost 92% of people fail at their New Year’s Resolutions within 2 weeks? One of the reasons is the amount of pressure we put on ourselves at this time of year, especially if you live in the Northern Hemisphere.

I was talking to a friend who is a psychologist the other day and he was saying that January is, in some ways, the worst time to make resolutions. You are just finishing a holiday and having to go back to work/school/music practice. The days are shorter and the weather is often grey and miserable. In fact, as I type this and look out of the window it is grey and drizzling outside! These are not necessarily ideal conditions for making positive changes in one’s life!

He also pointed out that every single day is the start of a new year - which of course it is. His suggestion is to wait a couple of weeks until you are back in the swing of normal life and just think about what your resolutions might be. You may find they change over this time and that is fine. Once you have something concrete, pick a day and start. These two weeks are a great opportunity to think about your musical goals for the next year as well as longer term goals.

He also mentioned that if you have fallen off the wagon, you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. Even if you have managed a few days of changed behaviour and practice routine you have made progress. Just because you didn’t manage it for every day it isn’t the end of the world. So, if you have slacked off from practice a little already don’t beat yourself up, just renew your resolution and start again. You will build up a new routine eventually. It will take time, but just keep working towards it and if you miss a few days, just pick yourself up and get started again!

Live Practice Workshops This Saturday!

If you are looking for some help with your music practice, including setting achievable musical goals to keep you inspired sign up for my Free Live Music Practice Workshop. I am running this online on Saturday 23 January at 9am EST/12PM EST/5pm GMT.

4 Simple Steps To Getting More From Your Music Practice In this online workshop I show you 4 Simple Steps you can take to make your music practice more effective. Stop that feeling of dread as you walk into your lesson, onto a stage or into an exam and be confident you can play every note right, every time.

What you will learn to benefit you:

  • About the 30 minute myth and how to avoid it
  • How to plan your practice, and execute your plan effectively
  • How to fit your practice into your week and form a positive practice habit
  • How you can leverage the power your mind already has to learn pieces and scales faster.

Louis Pasteur said “Fortune favours the prepared mind” Prepare your mind. Stop wasting your practice time and learn the tricks that focus your mind and help you learn faster and more effectively.

If you play an instrument or you are the parent of a child learning an instrument you need to be there. Numbers are limited so sign up now. After signing up please feel free to share this with any friends or colleagues who would also benefit.

Go to to sign up for the workshop.

Scales Practice App

One of the most common New Year’s Resolutions people make is to do more scales practice. This is a good resolution to make of course! Scales are important because they help help you learn pieces faster, make your sight reading better and also give you a much better understanding of any music you play or listen to, but they can be tedious to practice! Having said that as flautist James Galway said, “Scales played in the correct musical way are very exciting and rewarding” and I agree.

I have just reviewed the Scalebox App for iOS and Android. This is an excellent app which I highly recommend. You can find out why in the full review here.

Practice Tip Of The Month - Yes, You Need To Practice Scales!

Scale practice is something we all know we should do more of... but rarely do! However, it isn't just about the scales. The benefits filter down to playing pieces, sight reading, aural tests, music theory and even composition - so yes, they are important!

The quote by James Galway "Scales played in the correct musical way are very exciting and rewarding is often quoted, but what does it mean? What is the 'correct musical way'? I always interpret this as playing scales musically and mindfully. Don't just play through the notes. Think about how you can make them sound musical, and you will find they aren't quite as tedious to practice. I always challenge myself and my students to make a scale sound like a piece.

You can also try different rhythms, starting at the top and playing them in reverse or even starting in the middle! For more help with scale practice go to

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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