Thursday, November 01, 2007

31 Days to Better Practicing: The Complete Series

Just over a month ago, I began the onerous task of writing an article a day on how to improve one's practice time on any instrument (although I couldn't help being a little piano-centric), as well as listing some ways to open one's mind to new concepts, methods, and music. Throughout the month, I have taken great encouragement from those that have left comments or emailed me, and would like to take this opportunity to thank them for giving me such useful feedback, specifically Rhona-Mae, Ben, Hugh, Robert, Paul R, s@bd, Becky, Melodie, Valerie, gottagopractice, Mat, Andrea, Robin, and Graham. I hope to meet all of you sometime (MTNA?) and get to know you in real life as well as in the blogosphere and Facebook.

Here are links to the entire series of articles:

Day 1: Build a Regular practice Schedule Part 1
Day 2: Build a Regular Practice Schedule Part 2
Day 3: Warming Up
Day 4: Goal Setting Part 1: Short Term Goals
Day 5: Goal Setting Part 2: Medium Term Goals
Day 6: Goal Setting Part 3: Long Term Goals
Day 7: Practice Links
Day 8: First Steps--Getting New Repertoire on its Feet
Day 9: Slow Practicing
Day 10: 5 Reasons to Memorize Music
Day 11: Find Your Repertoire
Day 12: Take Your Performance for a Test Drive...Every Day
Day 13: Naturally7 in the Paris Metro
Day 14: More Practice Links
Day 15: Making Endings Work
Day 16: 5 Things to Remember About Fingerings
Day 17: Interludes: Some Thoughts on Teaching and Learning
Day 18: More Practice Links
Day 19: Build Sight Reading Into Your Practice Session
Day 20: Silent Practicing
Day 21: Work Backwards
Day 22: Non-Structured Practice Time
Day 23: Record Yourself
Day 24: Add to Your Skills By Learning Theory
Day 25: 5 Ways to Add Length to Your Practice Session
Day 26: More Practice Links
Day 27: Run the Program
Day 28: Developing an Artistic Sensibility
Day 29: Add Collaboration To Your Activities
Day 30: Taking Stock of Your Accomplishments
Day 31: Find Your Muse, Find Your Process

Look inside this title
The Piano Student's Guide to Effective Practicing - sheet music at
The Piano Student's Guide to Effective Practicing By Nancy O'neill Breth. Educational Piano Library. Book only. 6 pages. Published by Hal Leonard. (296450)
See more info...


  1. This is a really amazing accomplishment, Chris! Congratulations to you on this practical, substanceful and committed series of articles.

  2. Thanks, Josh. It was a tough slog with some difficult times keeping up the pace, but in the end I'm honored that so many people can find this series useful in their daily practice.

  3. Thanks a lot for your hard work here, I am a choral musician and I'm trying to implement a lot of your ideas into my score reading and vocal warm up practice. I really got a lot out of your posts on setting goals and working on sight reading. I look forward to exploring the archives of your blog more

  4. Thanks, Chris. Explore away--there's plenty of stuff to check out in the archives when you have the time.

  5. Piano Press7:57 PM

    Wow! Even after taking many piano lessons, and considering my self a fairly decent piano player, there was a lot that I learned from this! Thanks very much! I see that you are very interested in playing the piano, and so am I. You should check out my blog!

  6. A wonderful list that can be enjoyed by musicians at all levels.

    For setting goals, it can be rewarding for students to begin with their long-term goals. It's great to see them dream big. Once the long-term goals have been said out loud, it's easier to develop the mid-term and short-term goals.

    Students can even see the direct connection between what they need to practice today and their long-term goals!

    Congratulations on putting all these articles together. I came across them two years after you wrote them...another indication of the power of blogging and the web in general.

  7. David, I agree with the importance of goal-setting. It's always important have the goalpost in view when the game begins.

  8. Fantastic list of articles. This has given me hours of interesting reading.

  9. Well Done. A lot of work went in to this. Thanks for doing it. Would like to link to this on my site.

  10. This is an incredible post, thanks so much for all this wonderful material! I think I'll be reading all these entries and benefiting from them for awhile. This is such a comprehensive list of entries for improving one's music practice.
    Thank you!!

  11. An impressive article!
    Constant dripping wears the rock away. But according to my own observations many don't think about technique, but just practice for hours. A blind practice doesn't make perfect.
    Many greetings from Germany