Creating the Best Practice Space for Musicians
If you're a serious musician, there's a chance you've practiced your instrument huddled inside a closet, surrounded by dirty laundry.
You've probably worked out scales after dark sitting in the back seat of your car. Maybe you've even practiced your favorite song's TABS in secluded corners of your local park and or turned your drum set into carefully placed pillows on your bed.
Every musician has practiced in some pretty weird places. Places not ideal for sound quality or comfort, but they were places you could practice.
It happens...you want to get some practicing done, but despite your best efforts, you don't have anywhere to do it.
Whether you're traveling, working late, staying at a friend's house, or living in an apartment building where the neighbors have a strict quiet policy, sometimes it's hard to find a spot to practice.
There are several obstacles you will encounter on your journey to perfecting your craft, but there is one very simple, yet very important factor that can affect your playing in a big way: your practice space.
The perfect practice space is easier to create than you may think. You should create a space that will serve your learning needs and inspire your creativity.
When done right, you'll enjoy practicing regularly, so you continue growing as a musician.
Here are some things to think about as you develop your unique space for creating music.
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Things You Need For Your Practice Space
You should start by gathering the items you need for your practice time.
Once you get started, you don't want to stop and get up to find and retrieve sheet music or leave the room to get a pencil to write notes.
Before you practice, make sure you have:
- All your music books, sheet music, or TABS if necessary
- Music stand
- A pencil, sharpener, eraser, and notepad for notes
- A timer so you can focus on your music and not the time
- Water in case you get thirsty and hydration
When you keep your practice space always ready, practicing becomes easier and more enjoyable.
Other people can affect your practice in a big way.
Aside from the obvious social distraction caused by people in your practice area, the bigger distraction comes from a feeling of self-consciousness when you know that other people can hear you.
It's the same feeling you get if you've ever had to speak in public or perform in a competition.
The social aspect of any activity can improve performance, but it can also have a negative effect that can detract from your performance. When you are conscious that someone is listening to you as you practice, you're going to be affected whether you like it or not.
Even the awareness that someone is listening can alter your focus, regardless if it's positive or negative feedback. To get the most out of your practice time, create a practice space where you won't be interrupted by others and where no one can hear you.
This is also not to the time to have social media, televisions, and pets around you. Carve out a specific time of your day for practicing and leave the outside world out for that period of time.
Comfort is Key
Be sure your practice space has adequate light and has a comfortable temperature. If you move around during practice, make sure there is enough space to do that.
If you sit during practice, make sure you have a comfortable chair. You need a chair that will support you in all the right places without blocking any movements you need to make.
Practice in a place that doesn't capture enough heat (or maybe it becomes a little too hot)? Look into fans and space heaters. They may impact the space's sound, but a freezing or melting musician won't have a productive practice, anyway.
An empty doesn't always make the best practice space. Have you played your instrument in that room yet and heard the acoustics? You need to be able to hear the music you play clearly.
Maybe the nook in your living room has better acoustics than the back of the garage or the basement.
You should try to record your sessions so you can play it back and hear what you played well and what sections need more work. Use an iPad, video camera, or even your phone, as long as you turn off notifications, so you are not disturbed.
Also, will your practicing be bothering any neighbors? Will worrying about this inhibit your playing? Even if you can't deck out all of the money immediately to soundproof a practice space, there are small steps you can take.
Check out our guide on soundproofing your rehearsal space here.
Your practice space should inspire you.
If you can, paint it a color that makes you smile and decorate it with things that reflect who you are as a musician. Think of who inspired you to study music and hang their photo as a reminder.
If you admire another musician, place their books and photos of them in your space. Make sure their recordings are handy so you can listen to them should you ever need a nudge. You can even hang their vinyl!
Don't want to hang a simple picture of an artist? Check websites like Etsy out and see what unique crafts related to your favorite artists are being made.
If nature inspires you, hang a poster on your wall with scenes that help transport you there and imagine yourself playing music in that environment.
The truth is you're not always going to get your ideal practice situation. Sometimes you have to make do with what's available.
Some days you might have to use a mute, go out into the park, play softly, work on other aspects of your musicianship, or just spend time on focused listening.
However, for your consistent practice sessions, you should strive to create a place where you can play freely and concentrate fully.
Find a place where you are free from social distraction, where it's OK to sound bad, and where you can naturally play your instrument at any volume you choose.
For the aspiring professional musicians, the best place to practice is somewhere surrounded by like-minded individuals.
A great place to meet, practice, and be surrounded by aspiring musicians, just like yourself, is the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media.
The Atlanta Institute of Music and Media provides students with the instructional environment necessary to develop their musical talents and acquire the skills demanded of today's professionals in the music industry. Not only will you be inspired by talented peers, but you'll also be learning from industry-leading instructors.
AIMM offers musicians and producers the following programs:
- Music Production and Audio for Media Degree
- Music and Technology Associate Degree with a Focus in Guitar, Voice, Drums, Bass or Keyboard
- Certificate in Music Production
- Online Certificate in Music and Technology with a Focus in Guitar or Bass
To learn more about the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media, click the button below.