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How to Deliberately Practice to Your Favorite Music

deliberatepractice practice tools practicetips Nov 04, 2022

Welcome to part two of our series: It’s deliberate–not dull–practice. (Missed part one? Check it ‘oot, here!

Let’s keep this series simple by running our remaining practice suggestions through the three stages of the Sound Practice Method: Thought, Action, and Result.  Today, we’ll discuss how to deliberately practice along to an audio recording! 

We’re talking ANY kind of music in any style: pop, rock, opera, country, …anything goes :) 

Choosing different kinds of music to play along with explodes your palette of sounds to emulate. The perfect niente of a clarinet, the insane sweeping arpeggios of a guitar solo, the conversational phrasing of the Rat Pack… Plus, you get to uncover unique personality traits beyond what’s written in your music. For example, an aggressive rock song might help you draw out driving electric qualities underlying a Mozart concerto!  Of course, you’ll not keep your Metallic Mozart spin forever, but you can absolutely transfer your new insights and qualities into the composer’s style.

Here’s how to do it …deliberately!

Thought

In the thought stage of the Sound Practice Method, we’re searching for a direct musical thought that helps us achieve our desired result.  This thought can be anything… a picture, texture, movement, color, word, memory, sensation, another instrument, or scene. 

This practice scenario is unique, because your direct musical thought will be external to you. You’re listening to music that has incredible qualities you want to draw into your own abilities. Choose one quality you want to emulate, and voila!–that is your musical thought. 

Action

Connect your thought to action. Experiment a bit without your instrument. Imagine, what if YOU could make those sounds? And if you could, how would  you do it? 

By embracing, “What if I could?” we’re letting go of any sense of: 

I can’t play that way because I’ve never done it before
Nobody on my instrument has ever done that before 
I’ve never been very good at that
I don’t know how 

“What if I could” always gets us closer to what we’re seeking than “I should” or “I’ve never before.”

Result

After you’ve got a sense of the correlating action in your body, execute! You’ll end up with a result.  Consult sources of feedback to analyze your result.  You can use a recording device or the real-time juxtaposition of you and the music to which you’re performing. Collect what worked.

To improve what didn’t, reference your thought and adjust your action. Once you’ve achieved your desired result, you’ll know EXACTLY what to think and do to get the sound you want in performance. 

We have such a clear idea of what our abilities should be, that we have no idea what they could be.  We love this method of practicing because it helps us transcend assumptions about what is possible on our instrument.

Hoping this method helps you surprise yourself!

Looking for more ways to inspire your practice? 

Download our free guide to help you create a consistent practice routine!

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