The perfect practice space is easier to create than you may think. Your space should be set-up to serve your learning needs and inspire your creativity. When done right, you'll enjoy practicing on a regular basis so you continue growing as a musician.
Here are some things to think about as you develop your special space for creating music.
What will you need?
Start by gathering the items you need for your practice time. You don't want to stop and get up to find and retrieve sheet music or leave the room to get a pencil to write notes.
Make sure you have:
- All your music books and sheet music within reach
- Music stand
- You may want to write notes – on the music itself or to ask your teacher later – so have a pencil, sharpener, eraser, and notepad handy.
- A timer. Set your practice timer before you start. No matter how much time you set it for, this frees you from staring at the clock and can focus on your music instead.
- All your musical supplies – rosin, strings, etc.
- A glass of water in case you get thirsty.
When you keep your practice space always ready, practicing becomes easier and more enjoyable.
Help your practice space feel more like a "private retreat." A place where you can escape the day-to-day nuisances and relax, refocusing your attention on what you love. Try to set-up your practice area in a quiet, out-of-the-way room or a private section of your home. Remove any clutter and let your instrument be its focal point. This is quality time for you and your music.
Don't forget — turn off your phone and any other devices that could interrupt you while practicing. Give yourself the pleasure and space to focus on your music. When possible set up a "do not disturb – in practice session" notice at the door, and on your devices so folks don't worry when you don't answer them right away.
Comfort is key
Be sure your practice space has adequate light and has a comfortable temperature – not too hot or cold. If you move around during practice, clear enough space to do that.
If you sit during practice, then a comfortable chair is key. You want a chair that will support you in all the right places and not block any movements you need to make. Nothing is worse than standing up after an enjoyable practice session and feeling a pang of pain in your back. Don't be that person. Invest in your well-being by getting a supportive chair.
Wait! We know that room is empty, but that doesn't mean it's the best practice space! Have you played your instrument in that room yet? Have you heard the acoustics? You want to be able to hear the music you play clearly. Maybe the nook in the living room has better acoustics than the back of the garage or the basement.
It’s a great idea to record your session so you can play it back and hear what what you played well and what sections need more work. Use an iPad, video camera, or even your phone, as long as you turn off notifications so you are not disturbed.
Allow your practice space to inspire you. Paint it a color that makes you smile. Decorate it with things that reflect who you are as a musician. Who inspired you to study music? Hang their photo as a reminder. Do you admire another musician? Let them be your muse — place books and photos of them in your space. Have their recordings handy so you can listen to them should you ever need a nudge. Does nature inspire you? Hang a poster on your wall with scenes that help transport you there and imagine yourself playing music in that environment.
Don’t be afraid to let go
Once you've created the perfect practice space, embrace it! Spend time there so it feels comfortable, inspiring — as though you're getting a warm hug every time you step into it. Practicing is your sacred time for exploring your creativity and improving on your skill level. You will make mistakes, you may sound bad, but don’t let that deter you. The practice space you create is a safe place where you can let go and be free with your music.
Once your space is set, write your musical goals and hang them up where you can easily see them. This will help remind you of your desires and encourage your growth.
Are you ready? Let’s do some warm-up stretches and get started!
What other tips do you find useful for creating a practice space? Let us know in the comments below!