As we look ahead to the start of 2020, many people are making New Year Resolutions. For budding musicians, a great resolution is to create a daily piano practice habit.
But how do you create a daily piano practice habit that will stick?
5 ways to create a daily piano practice habit:
1. Be specific and start small.
If you don’t have a daily piano practice habit yet, decide to start with 5 minutes a day. Yes, just 5 minutes of focused, specific problem-solving practice is much better than 30 minutes of general playing-through of easy pieces without any plan. If you do have a daily practice habit, maybe add 5 minutes to it, and set the intention to practice every single day.
2. Stick to the same time of day.
Choose the same time every day to practice piano, and link it to something you already do every day, such as 5 minutes of piano practice immediately after brushing your teeth in the morning.
3. Create a plan of what to practice.
If you have piano lessons, look at the practice notes from your last lesson. If you don’t currently have piano lessons, create a list of what pieces you want to work on, and what skills and techniques you want to improve. Break each task into small, specific activities that take 5-10 minutes to achieve. Then allocate these small activities to specific days, creating a daily practice plan. Remember to allow time to repeat each small activity for a few consecutive days, as this will produce the best results.
4. Be prepared.
Have your music ready on the piano. Get a notebook and pencil to write down any questions or notes as you go, and to write down your daily practice activities. The hardest part of forming a daily piano practice habit is to get started, so the more prepared you are, the easier it will be.
5. Track your progress.
Remember that practice notebook? Use it to write down what you achieve in each day’s piano practice. It is very motivating to see how much you achieve over the course of a week or two with a daily piano practice habit. If you can’t think of something you have achieved during the practice session, either the task was too big, too difficult, or you weren’t focused on improving something specific.
6. Make it fun!
Doing the same thing every practice session is boring and ineffective. Vary the order of your piano practice activities, randomise them, or challenge yourself to play what you are practising from memory, with your eyes closed, three times perfectly in a row, etc. Our brains are wired to be stimulated by variety, so be creative and curious in the way you approach piano practice.