Practice Tips

When students begin to learn music and learn how to play an instrument, the way students practice for online music lessons is sometimes more important than how long they practiced. Let’s face it, practicing is tedious, and many people don’t want to do it. One approach in parents’ minds is that if children really like to play an instrument, they will naturally want to practice. Right? However, I have not found this to be the case. 

Yes, practicing builds muscle memory and certainly enhances discipline and a good work ethic. But think about it as an adult. Do you always want to “knuckle down” and get to work? Maybe sometimes, but I will bet not all the time. So how can we make the most out of practice time so that it is not so pedantic? Learn more about Fundamental Music Instruction and how we teach students how to learn music online by visiting us (Trial Lesson) to schedule a complimentary music lesson with one of our talented teachers.

Research Methods Help Students Practice Correctly when Learning Music Online 

According to a research study headed by Johns Hopkins, “What we found is if you practice a slightly modified version of a task you want to master, you actually learn more and faster than if you just keep practicing the exact same thing multiple times in a row.” 

The most likely reason for this is reconsolidation, a process where existing memories are recalled and modified with new knowledge. A simple example is trying to get better at shooting free throws in basketball. The conditions are fixed, the rim is always 10 feet above the floor, and the free-throw line is always 15 feet from the basket. In theory, shooting from the same spot over and over again will help you ingrain the right motions into your muscle memory, so your accuracy and consistency will improve. And, of course, that does happen — but a better, faster way to improve is to adjust the conditions in subsequent practice sessions slightly. 

Maybe you’ll stand a few inches closer or stand a few inches to one side during practice. Another time you might use a slightly heavier or lighter ball. In short, each time you practice, you make the conditions a little different. That primes the reconsolidation pump and helps you learn much more quickly.

Practicing to Learn a New Song for Online Music Lessons 

Now let’s take learning a new song. The traditional approach is to play it repeatedly until the notes flow together and the muscles remember what to do. Does that kind of repetitive practice sound like it will hold the interest of a 10-year-old having to do this every day? Not any 10-year-old I have ever met.

Following the advice from Johns Hopkins research, after you have learned the basics of a new song, perhaps one time, play it smooth and slurred together. Another time play it staccato and detached. Play it loud; play it soft. Play it fast and then slow.

The Johns Hopkins medical article states, “Don’t do the same thing over and over again in hopes you’ll improve. You will, but not nearly as quickly as when you slightly modify the conditions in subsequent practice sessions — and then give yourself the time to consolidate the new memories you’ve made.” 

Fundamental Music Instruction has over 200 Years of Expertise and Experience

Fundamental Music Instruction is for everyone! We believe without music, our minds would be quiet – we are excited to offer online music lessons for everyone, so children and adults can learn music. No matter how old you are, playing music has tremendous benefits. Schedule your free online music lesson (Trial Lesson) to begin music lessons online. 

Fundamental Music Instruction is here to help you begin your musical journey or hone your musical skills at any level. Please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected], call us at 908-244-4943, or Contact Us! We can’t wait to fill your world with music with our valuable music lessons online.

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