How Often Should You Practice An Instrument? A Guide to Practicing Your Instrument
“How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice!” We all know that if you want to learn how to play a new instrument or get better at one you’ve been learning for a while, you will have to practice. Especially if you want to make it to Carnegie Hall (or another venue) one day! So how often should you practice an instrument? A few hours a week? A few hours a day? The answer depends on what level you are at, your age, and your desired advancement.
How Often Should You Practice an Instrument as a Beginner?
For those who are just starting out on an instrument, practicing is so important to get a handle on how the instrument works, develop an embouchure or hand strength, and start gaining muscle memory. Casual musicians, or someone who simply wants to play for fun, will also need to practice, but not as much as someone aspiring to be a professional musician. Making 20-30 minutes of practice a part of your routine 4-5 days a week can help create a healthy habit without overdoing it.
Bonus Tip: Practicing in a place where you can concentrate without distractions like the TV or your smartphone will make those 20-30 minutes more productive. But it’s okay if you have a few days where you don’t feel like you “learned anything.” Be patient with yourself and have fun with it!
How Often Should You Practice an Instrument in Middle School?
Middle school-aged students are more likely to have a better understanding of their instrument and have developed some good practicing habits, so increasing the practice time to 30-60 minutes at least 5 days per week is a great place to start. Some students who aim to take their instrument more seriously could practice 6 or 7 days a week. Just be mindful of how long you are practicing to avoid hitting a point of “diminishing returns” when you simply are too tired to continue learning and are making more mistakes.
Bonus Tip: Make time during your practice routine for scales and arpeggios along with your concert music or solo pieces. These are the building blocks of music and will be helpful to know in the future. Plus they’re a great way to warm up before you practice your other pieces of music.
How Often Should You Practice an Instrument in High School?
High school is often when students have started taking their instrument seriously and have aspirations to get a music scholarship, play at the collegiate level, or be a professional musician. Practicing for a minimum of 45 minutes per day at least 5 days a week is a good start, but practicing up to 90 minutes at a time can allow for some serious work. This will allow you to still practice scales and arpeggios, begin to vary the tempo, rhythm, accents, and articulations, and spend a little more time with these crucial exercises. Then there is also plenty of time to work on solo performance pieces or concert music and work out challenging parts slowly, focus on expression, and record parts of your practice to listen and critique.
Bonus Tip: Listening to recordings of great players who play the same instrument and are performing pieces in the same style is an excellent way to train the ear to what sound is most desirable.
How Often Should You Practice an Instrument in College?
By the time someone has made it to this level of musicianship, there are likely already solid practice habits in place. College students have more performances to prepare for, so practice time becomes sacred and focused. As a college student, you may have a certain amount of practice time per week requested by your professors, but in general, between 2-3 hours of practice time 5-7 days per week is fairly common.
Bonus Tip: When wondering how to motivate yourself to practice an instrument, creating a “practice ritual” can help bring greater focus to each practice session. Keeping phones and laptops out of sight can also minimize distractions. Before stepping into the practice room, having clear goals and objectives can also help productivity.
Take Care of Your Instrument In Between Practices
CIOMIT offers instrument rentals and repairs as well as classes to learn how to repair instruments. We understand the value your musical instrument holds and we handle each instrument with precious care during every part of the repair process. Reach out to CIOMIT for all of your instrument repair and maintenance needs!