When someone says, “I want to learn to play the [YOUR FAVORITE INSTRUMENT HERE], they may not know it, but what they are really committing themselves to is “I want to learn how to practice.”

Let’s be clear: I don’t mean to say that practicing is anyone’s primary goal.  It’s not.  You should create a primary goal that defines what you want to do with your new instrument.

I recommend picking a specific piece of music you’d like to play.  If you tell your friends or a prospective music teacher, “I want to play Fur Elise on piano” or “I want to learn Smoke on the Water on guitar,” then you and everyone else is clear on why you’re taking up music in the first place.

But, what is going to get you to your musical destination is learning the best way to practice.

How you spend your time, usually alone, with your instrument will determine how much progress you make.  When learning is quick and easy, musicians enjoy practicing and get closer to their goals.  If the learning process is slow, musicians feel frustrated and wonder why no one told them playing music was so hard.

No matter how you decide to learn–having lessons with a music teacher, taking online courses, watching DVD’s or YouTube videos, working through a book–make sure you are learning exactly HOW to practice.  Knowing WHAT to practice just isn’t good enough.

You can get a lot of information on how to practice here on the Molto Music website.  If you haven’t already, make sure you sign up to get your free copy of our Special Report: The Top Ten Practice Tips of All Time.

2 Responses to “Learning How to Practice”  

  1. 1 Mike Saville

    I completely agree, but you miss any focus on the teacher. When starting a student doesn’t know that they should learn how to practice. It is up to the teacher to inform them on what’s required when outside lessons. Unfortunately most teachers I have come across do not do this. They focus instead on their own pre-planned programme which only includes discussion of practice when it hasn’t been done. Most teachers have not given sufficient thought to the practice process, have not been taught it themselves and so are poorly placed to show their students how to do it.

    3 years ago when I began my own website there was one other site on the web discussing practice. Fortunately there are now more, still not enough, but I hope the picture will change so that every teacher instructs pupils how to practice.

  2. 2 David Motto


    Thank you for your comments! I absolutely agree with you–it’s the responsibility of teachers to teach their students how to practice. This will be the subject of many upcoming blog posts. Hopefully, everyone in the music community will become more knowledgeable about this important topic!

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