Musicians of all levels are often prone to developing bad habits. These can be devastating on our progress, as many bad habits become second-nature when done continually and on a regular basis. In order to get the most out of your lessons, learn to tackle these problems directly during your daily practice sessions.
1. Avoiding Technique
Much of the music we learn requires technical skills that need to be learned properly so that we can perform pieces with as little difficulty as possible. It is tempting to continue to practice music in ways that have become familiar or easy, thus bypassing the task of learning a new skill. When your instructor asks you to play a piece in a certain way, it is probably for a good reason. Be sure to pay close attention to any peculiarities specific to the music you are practicing.
2. Not Practicing Assignments
Always practice the pieces your instructor asks you to practice, and be sure to practice all your music during each practice session. Sometimes we get pressed for time, or forget, or just don't want to make the commitment each day, but we can't allow ourselves to fall into this mindset. Don't spend all your practice time on a piece you like when you have other music to practice as well. If you do, you will only hinder your growth and it may take a much longer time to learn the music you are assigned.
3. Giving Excuses
Try not to be a person who brings excuses to your instructor at lesson time. Everyone knows that we all will have circumstances that interrupt our practice time. Make sure to get all your practicing in, even when it means giving up something else to do so (like television for example). If something does prevent you from practicing, be sure to get your practice time in as soon as possible so you don't forget to do it. If you are always giving excuses for not practicing, you are only preventing yourself from making real progress as a musician. If you feel like your instructor is asking too much, then it is best to mention that at your next lesson so you can discuss your progress and create a strategy that will allow you to get the most out of your practices.
Can you think of any excuses you've given to your instructor (or to yourself) lately? Please share your bad habits and how you handled them below.