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First, Learn to Practice

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  235 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Tom Heany has been involved with music his whole life, as a student, a teacher, a player, a writer and, yes, a practicer - for 13,000 hours, give or take a few. For 16 years he was the Director of Programming for the National Music Foundation, where he developed and ran the American Music Education Initiative and the Berkshire Music Festival. As a contributing editor for ...more
Kindle Edition, 92 pages
Published May 23rd 2012 by Dog Ear Publishing, LLC (first published March 20th 2012)
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Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a great little book that I plan to assign to my students this semester since practicing is a huge part of one's success in piano and also one of the biggest challenges for both amateurs and music majors/professionals. Not every idea resonated with me, but I liked how he gave key concepts to focus on to help smooth the pathway for effective practice sessions. A teacher may want to re-word some of his ideas to suit their particular instrument or teaching method, but they are generally very ...more
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
The author, Tom Grant, broke down the components of practice, emphasizing to go slowly, divide the music into small sections. Practice until the reason for problems is realized and corrected.
Tackle each section in this manner. Only then combine the sections to practice and play the music. The sections of the book are organized, building on the previous material. After page 50 Grant moves quickly through a variety of topics. Some sections in this part of the book seemed disjointed. There is
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This really doesn't go into much more detail than resources you can find on the internet, and much of it is common sense (not that I follow it)...

Also, it's a little short on applicable details, with advice like "if you aren't enjoying your practice, change it until you do". I'm reading a self-help book about how to practice; do I look like I know how to do that?

There's a good section on metronome and looping, but again - this feels like a set of really long blog posts.
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend

This is an excellent book that will help anyone approach/think about practicing any instrument - simple, common sense advice but articulated masterfully. I believe he must have applied the same principals to writing this book as he proposes one adopts when practicing music: slowly, deliberately, consciously. Perfect.
Anne Jordan-Baker
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very helpful, brief book on how to practice an instrument. Practice should help you get better without destroying your will to live with draconian requirements and rules. This is the book I would recommend to anyone interested in learning about how to practice, stay motivated and interested, and improve their playing.
Dele Omotosho
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bar none, the straight-forward, insightful and patient guide to practice.

Growing musically, practice is inevitable, unfortunately, no one really talks about the efficient way to do this, THIS, bridges that gap.

Brian Ball
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nice little book - motivational in its pragmatism.

I’m not actively practicing music, but I got a lot of value from this book. I’ll use these ideas for general learning as I coach my teenage son and keep up with technology myself.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good but short book with tips to improve your practicing.
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Friendly and useful.
Keith Wheeles
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Succinct and packed with good practice advice.
Joel Orr
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beginning musician, this one's for you

Read this book and act on it, and thereby increase your chances of becoming the musician you want to be!
Stefan Kanev
May 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is AMAZING!

It's short, it's to the point, and it's full of good advice. It's worth reading and then rereading over and over until you internalize it. It did help me improve my practice, which led to improving my playing. I'll try to shortly summarize a few key ideas.

First, practice should be enjoyable – if it's not, change it, until it is. Practice and playing are two different things and they should be approached differently. When practicing, the focus should be on the movement, not
Hisao Kondo
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are some useful advice. For example, "one of the main reasons we practice is to take things we do consciously and make them unconsciously( L527)." , "So if you find yourself struggling, take that as a sign that you need to change your approach. (
L 513) " and " capturing patterns and filling in the details later. (L319) .
Louie van Bommel
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very tiny book. Not outstanding, but a few good ideas, especially what practicing really is, being honest and looping. This didn't dramatically change my habits nor my mindset as other books I'm reading are doing.
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing

I chose this rating, because I really got a lot out of this book. However, I shall continue to use this book as a reference. I believe anyone who is confused about how to practice, should read this book.
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great kick in the pants. Music matters, and making music well is a journey not a destination.
Steven Boydstun
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Nice Book

Finally, how to practice! Short and to the point, helpful. Many books try to teach while this one focuses on how to learn.
Lyle Raymond
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have begun recommending this to all my students, and applying the ideas in my own practice sessions. Excellent work!
Chris Allen
Jan 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Some useful information. I will probably refer back to this book from time to time.
Aug 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Short, to the point, and full of sound advise. Well worth the read.
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone learning to play an instrument
Many helpful strategies and tips both mental and physical that I was able to put to use immediately. My practicing is already becoming more productive and the "grunt work" less boring.
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Nice little book on how to learn to set up your practice routine. Nevertheless only general tips, none instrument-specific (e.g. how exactly do you practice scales).
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Super helpful for piano players who avoid practicing. This will help you improve faster, but it isn't easy.
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
a great book with advice and tips for any musician whether just starting or a long time musician.
rated it it was ok
Dec 14, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Mar 31, 2018
Jay Pangilinan
rated it really liked it
Dec 19, 2015
Billy Saint
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Apr 15, 2016
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May 28, 2017
Nicolas Echavarria
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May 08, 2016
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