Practicing is, obviously, the hardest aspect of music to get students to do. I am going to explore the Who, What, Where, When, and How of practicing in the following blog posts, beginning with Who.
Who should practice? The short answer is, YOU should practice.
If you are a beginning player, now is the time to explore your instrument. Get familiar with assembling your instrument the correct way, experiment with your embouchure or hand position, check your posture, and produce sounds without worrying too much about tone production. As you get more instruction, start to focus on tone production, counting, using a metronome, learning the correct fingering or positions for your instruments, and just having fun!
If you are an intermediate player, you should try to improve all the things you learned as a beginner, and then increase your vocabulary, learning new notes, new rhythms, and alternate fingerings, should they be available. Play music in addition to your assigned pieces or exercises, either by finding additional material, or improvising using the notes and rhythms you know. Explore YouTube to get more information from a variety of experts and to help spark your creativity.
If you are more of an advanced player, keep working on the fundamentals like scales and triads to stay fluent with keys that you will play, work on your tone production, and keep looking for new ideas in rhythm. Play solos appropriate for you level and ask friends to form groups to participate in your state Solo & Ensemble festival. Chamber music is a great way to increase your facility on your instrument.
If you are an adult, NOW is the time to pick up an instrument. Studies prove over and over again that adults WISH their parents would have made them stick with lessons. Nothing is stopping you now from starting one. You can enjoy the process just as much from a beginner’s standpoint as any child. Playing is a good hobby to enjoy, and you would be modeling good behaviors for your children learning to play an instrument as well.
If you are a professional musician, you need to practice, but you don’t need ME telling you that. A good pilot never stops learning, and a good musician does not either.
I hope you enjoyed this small look into practicing. If you have and comments, please let me know; I could always improve on the idea.