Scheduling Practice Sessions

“Your artistic evolution is best served by steady, judicious practice.”
The Musician’s Way, p. 11

Consistent practice empowers us to become the artists we aspire to be.

But skillful practice doesn’t just happen – we have to learn how to practice effectively.

The most fundamental thing we need to grasp is how to manage our time, so here are 5 guidelines that help musicians use their practice time wisely.

1. Practice Regularly
Intelligent, daily practice permits our creativity to unfold. Ideally, we’d practice similar amounts and at comparable times each day. If you’d like to be more productive in your practice, try the free practice logs at

2. Arrange Multiple, Shorter Stints
Frequent shorter practice sessions promote deeper learning. We also maximize efficiency when we pinpoint goals in the five practice zones described on pages 6 & 7 of The Musician’s Way.

3. Take Breaks
Well-timed breaks allow our muscles and minds to recharge. In general, we should rest at least 10 minutes of each hour that we practice – perhaps 5 minutes after practicing for 25, or maybe 3 minutes every 15. Ensembles might work for 50 minutes before pausing for 10.

4. Increase Gradually
To prevent overuse injuries, it’s vital that we increase playing or singing time in stages, no more than 10-20% per week.

5. Live a Balanced Life
As we refine our practice schedules, we need to adopt balanced lifestyles that support long-term sustainability.

*  *  *

In closing, these principles speak to managing the quantity and timing of our practice, but musical progress also hinges on practice quality. If you want to upgrade your practice habits, see The Musician’s Way for step-by-step guidelines.

Related posts
10 Affirmations that Energize Practice
Assessing Your Practice Habits
The Power of a Practice Schedule
Taking Breaks
The Twin Aims of Deliberate Practice

 Adapted from The Musician’s Way, Chapter One
© 2014 Gerald Klickstein
Photo © Alenavlad, licensed from

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6 Responses to “Scheduling Practice Sessions”

  1. Joan Watson said:

    Feb 10, 14 at 15:49

    So happy to find your book and blog. Wonderful combination of balanced life and satisfying playing advice. Thanks so much. Joan

  2. Gerald Klickstein said:

    Feb 10, 14 at 17:44

    Thanks for reading, Joan, and the supportive words. I hope you’ll stop by often.

  3. Rudy Martisek said:

    Feb 10, 14 at 22:25

    I love this book. I am on my third reading. It is all marked up with different colors for each time I read and highlight it!

  4. Gerald Klickstein said:

    Feb 10, 14 at 22:48

    Very gratifying to hear, Rudy. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Lindsay Della Vella said:

    Feb 12, 14 at 08:13

    Very good advice. I like the balanced life part. I just came across this website and I will check out this book! Looks very interesting.

  6. Gerald Klickstein said:

    Feb 12, 14 at 12:16

    Thanks, Lindsay – I appreciate your interest and support!