Practice Myth no. 1

The more you practice, the better you will be

This idea is quite a common one – people seem to believe that practicing every day, for very long hours makes you very good at playing your instrument. To some extent this is true BUT what matters more is WHAT you do in your practice and HOW you practice. If you were to practice your piece from start to finish, again and again… chances are – the passages that you have issues with won’t change – the mistakes will still be there… if anything you are wasting your time because you are just reinforcing mistakes.

Practice should never be time orientated – it should be goal orientated. Let me put it this way, some years ago, when I was a teenager, my piano teacher once asked me “how much time did you spend practicing at the piano this week?” my reply: “an hour every day, but only for five days of the week,” to which he replied “so you are telling me that you practiced for five hours and after five hours you failed to even get the basic rhythm of the first two bars correct?” empty silence was what followed on my part… and I wasn’t lying – I did actually practice for five hours! He had a point – it’s not how much you practice, WHAT you do in the time that you practice – that is the more important part.

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