There’s a joke going around social media that I’m going to paraphrase: 

I used to think I didn’t practice because I didn’t have the time. Then I was in lockdown and discovered that, yeah, that wasn’t the reason!

So. Need some ideas and tidbits to get that practicing in? And maybe how to get the most out of the time you do practice?

Here are your instructors to the rescue! For the next few weeks, we’ll have short ideas of things you can do to make the most of that valuable practice time. Try the ones that appeal to you. Everyone has different methods of getting things done, so don’t feel bad if you just can’t do a particular one. Find the tricks you like and then, most importantly, use them!

Let’s start with simply picking up the instrument! Clark Brown suggests carving out a mere fifteen minutes every day. That’s all. That’s one solitaire game you can give up or a hundred scrolls through Facebook. And what to do for those fifteen minutes? Clark says, “Work on new chords. Just go from one chord to the next. You don’t have to play them, strum them, or even press down on the strings.”

You can even do that while binge watching your favorite TV show. No sound required! Get that muscle memory down!

Another thing you can do while watching Netflix? A trick Payton Scott promotes is to practice the right hand moves with a mute on the strings or your left hand holding the strings still. That clawhammer strum or that bluegrass lick will improve dramatically when you just get those muscles used to doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

Malcolm Galdwell proposes that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. But to become a better player starts with only fifteen minutes a day!

Tune in next week for another tip to get practicing!

~ Maura Nicholson