1. Warm Up

2. Practice often

Small, frequent practice sessions are more effective than one or two longer sessions each week.

3. Have a plan

Have immediate, short and long-term goals.

4. Develop a practice routine that works for you

5. Practice at you instrument and away from it

Next time you’re on a bus, plane or train, try practising without your instrument. Study the score,analyze the harmony, think through the phrasing. You will be amazed at how easy it is to become familiar with a piece when you don’t have your technique distracting you.

6. Listen

Enough said.

7. Make notes

Keep a pencil with your instrument and scribble as often as you need to in a practice journal or on your music. As you become more familiar with a piece you can start to remove unnecessary practice markings from the score.

8. Make noise

Don’t be afraid to sing, clap or count aloud.

9. Listen to different recordings of repertoire you are learning

Analyze aspects of technique, expression, style and interpretation.

10. Identify the problem

Don’t bash through a piece aimlessly, wondering why it hasn’t improved. Identify the problem and get to work on that particular passage.

11. Repetition is key

If you play a particular passage incorrectly 5 times in a row, then finally get it right on the sixth try, don’t move onto something else. In doing so, you have effectively practiced the wrong thing 5 times and the correct passage only once. The number of times you play a passage correctly needs to far outweigh the number of times you played it incorrectly.

12. Decide on fingering and be consistent with it

Make decisions early in the process and stick with them.

13. Play as many details on your first read as possible

Dynamics, articulation, phrasing, etc are as much a part of the music as the pitches and rhythms.

14. Practice slowly

15. Refer constantly to lesson notes

Prior to each practice session, read over the lesson notes from your teacher.

16. Record yourself

This can sometimes help with Practice Tip #7.

17. Understand the difference between practice and play..

And make sure you do both!

18. Don’t practice when you are tired

You won’t achieve anything if you aren’t focused and concentrating when you practice. This only leads to frustration.

19. Be aware of your entire body, not merely your fingers

20. Be inspired

Feed yourself a steady diet of live performances, books on music, YouTube clips and audio recordings of your favorite performers.