What it means to practice effectively.

Modacity’s core mission is to help musicians and other skill learners to increase their practice effectiveness. We know how hard it can be to stick with something – especially when it starts to get difficult. That’s why we believe efficient and deliberate practice methods not only help you learn faster but also help keep you motivated.

The more efficient you are with your practice time, the more focused your sessions, the more quickly you’ll learn and the faster you’ll excel. When it comes to learning new skills, students can often get discouraged with their progress, but it’s important to realize that learning skills can take time – and that’s ok! The most important thing is that you stick with it, and keep progressing towards your goals.

Why is practice so important?

A “practice” in the broad sense of the term is simply an activity that you repeat regularly. Sometimes we repeat activities consciously, e.g. “I practice swimming five times a week.” But you also might practice some activities unconsciously: is eating a conscious practice for you? Walking? Cooking?

You are practicing all the time, whether you know it or not. That’s why practice is so important. Even when you’re not actively doing an activity, your brain is still absorbing and learning. Just think about those times you took a few days off from something and suddenly got better. You’re always learning, even in your downtime. So you might as well make the most of your time and practice effectively.

Focus is the key to mastery and growth.

Andrew Pouska at studybass.com defines practice as “the absorption, mastery and maintenance of skills.” This is how most people think about practice. There’s an element of improvement. How quickly you improve and what direction your improvements take you, is the essential question for musicians and other practicers.

Focusing on what you want to learn and improve upon is the best way to practice effectively. Imagine if you’re jumping around from random skill to random skill – think of how much longer it will take you to master each item. It’s certainly good to mix it up and even take breaks. But there comes a point where your practice session can become too scattered to be beneficial. By focusing on your goals during your practice, you’ll be much more effective with your time and you’ll learn a lot faster.

That’s why it’s so important to practice effectively.

Effective practice means actually going in the direction you want to go, and doing so in a relatively efficient manner. That means setting goals and actively pursuing them. Sometimes those goals can be small – like a specific skill. Other times they can be big picture goals. Either way, setting goals and practicing specifically to achieve those goals maximizes your time, efficiency, and ultimately will give you the best chance of achieving those goals.

At Modacity, we believe there is a gap between what science knows about practice, and what most musicians are doing. Try the Modacity app and find out for yourself what’s possible when you practice effectively and deliberately.

Mars Gelfo

Mars Gelfo

Mars has been practicing music for 30+ years. After applying cognitive science & computer science to French horn, Mars became an internationally touring symphony musician. His experience includes teaching and performing with thousands of musicians around the world, including the San Francisco Symphony.