When I first started studying music, I was young enough that I ignored much of the practice advice that my teachers gave me. I just wanted to play. This worked for awhile, but then I ran smack up against a wall where, if I'd just listened in the first place...
Having been down the "learn it the hard way" path, these are the bits of wisdom that I wish I'd been ready to listen to at the time they were passed on!
Have a plan.
Start with the hard bits.
Get your rhythm right from the start.
Practice so slowly that you get it perfect every time.
Record yourself. And listen to the recording!
Practice in short, concentrated sessions many times a day.
Take lots of breaks to stretch and drink water.
Do a little every day.
Having a plan will help keep you from getting distracted from the things you want to accomplish.
Starting with the most difficult bits will get them out of the way and then everything is easier from there!
Practicing so. intensely. slowly. will keep you from creating brain paths that diverge from the correct one. Every time you make a mistake, your brain has to then choose between the path the mistake created and the correct one. Give it just one path to take!
Get your rhythm right. You're no fun to play with if you can't keep the beat. Listen to recordings. Be merciless.
Record and listen to yourself. Compare to the recordings you're learning from. Does yours sound as good? What is still missing?
Practising in short, concentrated sessions will keep your brain fresh and active and will help you stay on task and avoid making mistakes.
Taking lots of breaks to take care of yourself is always a good idea!
Doing a little every day is much more effective than one mammoth practice session a week.
Want some extra tools to help? Check out our post on Slowing Down!