Ten Minute Virtuoso – Expanded Explanation

Put the Focus on Playing

Practicing every day just means that you’ve made the decision that playing music will be a regular part of your life. Don’t put the focus on “practicing.” Put the focus on “playing.”

If you say to yourself, “I’m going to play my instrument every day,” it feels pretty good. You then have to ask yourself what steps you’ve got to take to make this happen. What steps you take will depend on your current situation.

For Musicians Who Never Practice: Just Play Today

If you’re not really playing at all right now, and are feeling a bit guilty about that, play your instrument TODAY. Don’t worry about a plan. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Just do it once to see what it’s like.

Chances are you’ll feel mixed. It will be fun to play music but could be a bit frustrating if you can’t play the way you want to. A key part of this strategy is to not worry about how you feel and, especially, not to worry about how you sound! If you haven’t played in a while, it’s okay if you sound less than perfect.

This is a two-part approach: 1. Play Today. 2. Don’t Worry.

For Musicians Who Occasionally Practice: Try Something Regular

If you’re playing once a week or so, first develop a plan to play 3 days a week. Choose which days would be easiest, and schedule the best times on those days to play. After you’ve successfully played 3 times this week, move it up to 4 times for next week. Keep doing this until you’re playing 6 or 7 days a week.

It’s easy to grow from 3 days a week to 6 or 7 days a week.

For Musicians Who are Ready to Commit NOW: Do Whatever It Takes

If you’re ready to dive right in to playing EVERY day, here’s something to think about:
What would it take to make sure you do this? Maybe you’ve got to set your sights low. If that’s the case, playing even for 1-5 minutes every day would be an enormous victory! No matter how much you get accomplished, just the fact that you played music for 7 days in a row is huge progress.

Once you’re in the habit of doing that, it’s easier to up your time commitment. Your first level of commitment should be 10 minutes a day, every day.

Then, you can add on time when you’re ready:
1. Play twice a day for 10 minutes each.
2. Add on 10 minutes to your current practice session.

If you’re already doing more than that, it’s time to make your practicing matter. Don’t have a big open-ended time for playing music. Organize your time!

Your practicing is a series of 10-minute practice sessions. Always think of your practicing in these short increments. For instance, if you practice for one hour a day, your practicing might look like this:
1. 10 minutes of warm-ups/basics
2. 10 minutes of technical exercises from your teacher
3. 10 minutes on song #1
4. 10 minutes on song #2
5. 10 minutes on song #3
6. 10 minutes of playing just for fun—anything you want

Decide What “Every Day” Means to You

Many musicians know they’re never going to play their instrument 7 days a week. That’s fine! Remember, this is supposed to be fun. Only you can decide what playing regularly means to you. If you know that you’ll feel absolutely great if you play 4 days a week, then play 4 days a week.

The main idea is to play regularly. Make music a normal part of your life. Don’t let playing your instrument be something only for special occasions or only when you feel like it. The truth is, if you’re not playing regularly, you’ll never be happy with how you sound.