Monday, April 26

10-Minute Music Practice

One person may practice an instrument for an hour a day, another for only 10 minutes a day. And yet the person who practices for 10 minutes may make more progress than the one who practices for an hour. Why? Because the person who plays for only 10 minutes may spend that time in focused practice, working on developing new skills.

The person who practices for an hour may spend that time playing songs, pieces, or scales that he or she already knows. Music practice is tackling something you don’t know; can’t play; or don’t yet understand; or, it’s working on a technique that feels unfamiliar or difficult.

Practicing music correctly is a lot like getting in shape. If you walk on a treadmill an hour a day while reading a magazine, and you set the speed and incline to the same comfortable level each day, your fitness level will remain largely the same at the end of six months.

If, however, you devote only 20 minutes to the treadmill just three days a week, but put all of your physical and mental energy (no magazines) into the task at hand, you will likely be stronger and better toned at the end of six months than the person who walked for an hour without breaking a sweat.

During that 20 minutes, you may have challenged yourself by slowly increasing the treadmill incline and/or raising your walking speed. The concept of challenging yourself for short periods of time translates perfectly to music practice.

So, start out by practicing for 10 minutes a day. If you want to increase it to 15 minutes, and later to 20 or 30 minutes, that’s great. If not, that’s fine, too. You will make significant progress practicing 10 minutes a day if you challenge yourself during those 10 minutes. There are many accomplished, professional musicians who never practiced for hours a day!

They likely spent countless hours playing music in band or orchestra settings, but practicing may only have been done to review the most challenging or difficult parts of the music.

If you follow the 10 principles in this book, you will learn your instrument more quickly and more thoroughly over the course of one year than if you practice a full hour a day – the wrong way ‐ for 5 years! These principles will be particularly useful for people who have been stuck at the same level for years; people who are returning to music after a long time away from it; or for beginners.

The 10 Principles of 10-Minute Music Practice

1. Establish a long‐term musical goal, and keep it in mind at each practice session.
2. Focus on your strengths, not on your weaknesses. Work only on the weaknesses that are relevant to your long‐term musical goal (Principle No. 1).
3. Set a short‐term goal before each practice session so you know how the 10 minutes will be used before you start.
4. Practice what you don’t know, not what you do know.
5. If it sounds good, it’s not practice, and it doesn’t count toward your practice session.
6. Don’t practice anything wrong; not one note or one beat. When in doubt, triple check the note or beat, and then check it again.
7. Don’t play pieces or songs through from beginning until end; work on parts or pieces of songs.
8. Leave your instrument out, or, if you’re a singer, leave your music out on a music stand, in a place where you will see it every day.
9. Practice for at least 10 minutes every day. If you miss days, don’t give up. Just get back on schedule.
10. Don’t practice the same thing, in the same order, that you did the day before.

For more info purchase Leah R. Garnett’s book, Ten‐Minute Music Practice – How to Do It and Why It Works

What's your take... leave your comments below.


  1. You can say this for anything in life. Focus is all it takes to make anything you can imagine manifest.

  2. True that. Focus is all what u need and u need to stay consistent. 10 minutes a day for a month is worth more than practicing for an hour and and then quitting


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