As we all know, becoming a great harmonica player takes practice. Lots of practice. What suprises me sometimes is that how little thought some people put into how they practice. When I became serious about blues harmonica quite a few years ago I quickly found out that I was time constrained. It wasn’t because of lack of interest I wasn’t practicing 8 hours a day, it was simply because I had so many other obligations. Work, family, house, garden etc etc. You know how it is. This led me to thinking about how I could make the best use of the time I actually practiced.
Some time ago I took the time to record a few YouTube videos I chose to call “Hertzberg’s rules of practice”. It was my way of collecting the ideas I had developed over time that made my practice better than when I started. It turned out to be 9 rules for some reason, I don’t know why. Now I thought it would be a great time to summarize them here in this article. For full explanation of the rules watch the videos.
1. Quality & quantity
More is not always better, it has to be good as well. Rule #1 video.
2. Consistency is king
Improvements fade if they are not maintained. Rule #2 video.
3. End with a positive feeling
What happens after the practice is also important to end on a positice note. Rule #3 video.
4. Have your gear ready
Don’t waste time when you practice! Rule #4 video.
5. Set your intentions
If you know what you want, everything falls into place. Rule #5 video.
6. Record and review
We don’t always hear what we play when we are playing. Rule #6 video.
7. Make performance practice realistic
The way be pratice is the way we default to under preassure. Rule #7 video.
8. Check relaxation
The more relaxed you are the less you will fight yourself. Rule #8 video.
9. Let the metronome rule
Staying in time is much more difficult than many people think. Rule #9 video.
If you follow these rules I can guarantee you that your blues harmonica practice will be much more efficient. Not only will your progress be quicker but you will also likely spend more time practicing. Everything adds up!
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