Practice problems, solutions and suggestions

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Fiona Richards
Practice problems, solutions and suggestions

Hi! Here are some of my thoughts on practice which come from my own experience and from helping my students. I think practising is a very individual thing and each person needs to explore a bit to find what suits them best and be free to be flexible from day to day. Anyway here are some common practice problems and I hope you might have fun with my suggestions!

1. Wandering concentration  

    ~ if possible find the best time of day when you feel alert and calm

    ~ be clear - Decide how long to practise for, what you’re going to practise and  what you want to improve

    ~ Try to stick to the plan!

    ~ divide your practice up into sections eg. 10 minute chunk for each piece

    ~ Having a goal like a performance coming up can focus the mind 


2. Lack of inspiration?       

   ~ have a chunk of practice time when you don’t worry about playing everything correctly….let your imagination go wild for a bit!

   ~ try experimenting with different sounds - what is possible on your instrument?

   ~ put your instrument down and sing the music, mime playing it, or even dance to it!

   ~ try some improvisation (can be simple as simple as you like - even on one note)


3. Feeling stuck/tired/aches and pains/discomfort 

~ put the instrument down

  ~ listen to a recording or read about the music you are playing

  ~ take a short break, refresh and continue  ~ lie on the floor with your knees bent and some books under your head, allow some of the      tension to let go

~ never keep push yourself if you are in pain


4. Stuck on one difficult bit? 

~ try to simplify as much as possible

~ don't keep going over and over on autopilot!

~ slow it right down, maybe use a metronome

~ how many ways can you invent to practise it?

~ if you’re brave, try recording or filming yourself for extra feedback 


Good luck! And happy practising…




Leah Kruszewski

Hi Fiona, these are terrific suggestions to common practice problems.  I can learn from them myself, not to mention my students.  I will pass them on, thank you for sharing!


Fiona Richards

Hi Leah,

You are welcome :) So glad it's helpful!


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