In his best-selling book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell has proposed that 10,000 hours of practice can make an individual a master at his/her craft; it's what elite concert violinists put in to play their way upwards to the top.
The foremost advice for an aspiring musician is to practice religiously. Here are three basic but important tips to start off with:
Do you tend to feel more tired in the evenings? Or are you an early bird? Our body responds to its own unique set of biorhythms, so it makes sense to figure out when you're most alert and when you feel drowsy and listless. Reserve music practice during the hours you feel most agile and enthused.
How smartly you practice is more important than how long you practice. If you're agitated, weary or just not in the mood, there's no point in pushing yourself to practice because you won't be doing it mindfully and only because 'you have to.'
One of the common mistakes beginners tend to make is playing tunes they already know. This can eat into practice time without serving much of a purpose. Your time is better optimized by picking up skills you don't already posses. That can be anything from picking up a new riff, scale or tune to learning how to read sheet music more proficiently. After all, the idea behind music practice is not just to perfect what you know, but to add new tunes, songs and riffs to your repertoire.
If you cannot establish the right tempo the musical piece was intended to be played in, it can affect your overall performance. A metronome is a tool that helps you control the time aspect of your performance. Practicing with a metronome can help you time your notes correctly, assisting you with both slow and fast playing. Set the metronome to a speed that allows you to play a piece comfortably. Listen to the clicks and count out loud to confirm timing errors. Keep your body moving just slightly in time with the metronome as a movement-based guide can help you become a better judge of rhythm from within and slowly wean you away from relying on a tool.
What do you think of our tips? Feel free to share your feedback and suggestions.