How to Turn Yourself Into a Practice Addict

Happy New Year!

We’re going to take a quick break from 18 Tips for a Better Tone, and talk about the following:

  • How to turn yourself into a practice addict
  • Even if you have hated practicing in the past

Why We Don’t Always Like Practicing

We don’t always like practicing for multiple reasons. I want to bring up a few of those reasons and share with you how to overcome them. If you can do that, then you’re one step closer to becoming addicted to practicing. Of course, when that happens your abilities on the saxophone will sky rocket.

Slow or Unnoticeable Progress

This can really keep us from practicing. Who wants to spend their precious “spare” time doing something that’s not helping them improve or get better? What if the following was the case instead:  you felt that every time you sat down to practice that you would get better. Would you be more likely to practice? That’s one reasons why addicts are addicts. They know that every time they practice, that they’re going to get better.

How Do You Get Better Every Time?

There are many tips that will help, and I’ll list some here. Keep in mind that the Free Lessons and the Membership Lessons (Hobbyist Series & Band Student Series) provide a formula that will help you get better every time you practice. Here are some specifics:

  • Practice 5-7 times a week (see next section)
  • Play slowly so you never (or rarely) play anything wrong
  • Repeat and play correctly multiple times
  • Get your scales comfortable
  • Practice what the pros practice

Practice 5-7 times a week

This is the big one! Finding time or keeping your interest up can be a challenge. How do we do this? Set a goal (how many times have you heard that in the last few days?) and write it down. In fact, share your goal with someone so there is some accountability too.

Follow your goal for 6 weeks only. This is not forever! We sometimes fail with our goals because we feel we need to do it forever. Remember, once you’re an addict, you won’t want to stop, and that takes about 4-6 weeks to get there.

When setting this goal, you need to balance the amount of time you spend practicing with the rest of your busy schedule. If you can do a 1 hour practice session- go for it! If you can only do 10 minutes a day- go for it! You will still progress. Set an amount of time that works for you. You’ll walk away from your practice session feeling successful. By the way, you’ll be eager to increase your practice session times when you become a practice addict. And yes, even 10 minute practice sessions can get you there!

Is Practicing Sometimes Boring?

This goes back to setting the duration of your practice session. If 30 minutes feels like your pushing your patience, then take off 10-15 minutes. Adjust your practice sessions to work for you. As you continue to enjoy the length of your practice sessions, you’ll be one step closer to becoming a practice addict.

Physical Pain

If your bottom lip hurts and keeps you from practicing, consider placing something over your bottom teeth to keep the pain down. There are many options for this. I use a piece of note card over the front bottom teeth at times. Practicing without extreme pain is definitely a characteristic of the practice addict.

Buy Some New Equipment

If we buy something new, we sometimes become more motivated to practice. If this approach works for you, consider the following purchases:

  • A new saxophone
  • Mouthpiece
  • Ligature
  • Lessons
  • Different brand of reed
  • Neckstrap

Practice for Something

I’ve seen students very motivated to practice when they have a purpose for their practice sessions. Set a goal for a performance date and you’ll be one step closer to becoming a practice addict. Here are some performance opportunities that you could set:

  • A family performance
  • A public jam session
  • Join a community/church band

Addict Characteristics

These are just a few items that will help you become addicted to practicing. What does this feel like?

  • You want to practice everyday
  • You increase practice session duration because you want to
  • You know you’ll get better every time you practice
  • You sound better than you thought you ever could

What motivates you to practice? Please share in the comment section below!

Get the Free Lessons and Membership Lessons (Hobbyist Series & Band Student Series) Here!

Comments 7

    1. Post
  1. ok my teacher that is very nice.

    ways of learning sax is what so much interesting and am very very happy. keep it up. i must be follow you through out and i ask what ever difficulty must their.

    1. Post

      I’m happy to hear that you are enjoying the lessons! Feel free to ask any questions along the way. Send in a recording too!

  2. Jeff you read my mind,
    I was having that sharp pain on my bottom leap , and I had to take a brake.
    I did contact my dentist for some kind of protector and he give me some kind of wax
    that usually is used for retainers , but doesn’t work .
    The pressure from the leap and mouth piece make the wax go beside the teeth and I end it with the same problem.
    I guess I have to keep suffering.

    1. Post

      Hey Marcelo,

      No need to suffer! Here are a few ideas for helping out your lower lip. You can place one of the following materials over the bottom lip to greatly decrease the pain:

      Paper (or card stock)
      Denture pad (buy at any drug store)
      a sport mouth guard (the kind you boil to make a secure fit)

      Try these out and let me know what you think!

  3. Pingback: Favorite blog posts, January 2015 | Bret Pimentel, woodwinds

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