Let's face it, practicing an instrument is fun, but it's also time consuming, mentally exhausting, and even frustrating when the piece is overly challenging. As inconvenient as practicing may be at times, it is absolutely mandatory in order to improve and master your instrument.
The most common question I receive from those serious about pursuing music as a career is:
"How often should I practice?"
Well, while you definitely have to practice in order to enhance and hone your skills, you might be a little surprised and even relieved to hear the answer to the above question.
Believe it or not, you actually don't have to practice that much to make decent progress.
Studies have shown that practicing an instrument for just 10-15 minutes every day will actually help you make more progress as opposed to practicing for two hours twice per week. Why is this? Well, shorter, more efficient practice sessions allow the human brain to better understand and retain information. Most instruments require our muscles to memorize the movement of the piece we are learning. If we do the same movement every day for 10-15 minutes straight, we will actually learn the piece much faster. Practicing the same movement on and off for 2 hours or more will simply exhaust us mentally and physically, which ultimately negatively affects our progress.
The best piece of advice I can give to all musicians and recording artists is to make practicing a part of your daily routine -- treat it like a quick workout or a meal plan. For example, every day after lunch, I practice for 15-20 minutes. It's become a habit, and to my surprise, it's become so repetitive that if I don't practice at the same time every day, my entire daily routine feels disjointed and wrong.
Eventually, these short practice sessions will lead to fantastic progress, and you'll see results relatively quickly.
So grab your phone, your tablet, or even an old fashioned pen and paper, and start editing your schedule. Block off just 10-15 minutes per day and you'll be mastering your instrument in no time!