2 min read

What is the Ideal Amount of Time to Practice Music Each Day?

What is the Ideal Amount of Time to Practice Music Each Day?
Photo by Ahmed Rizkhaan / Unsplash

I think if you ask most music teachers how long a student should practice for each day, they will tell you that it's around one hour. For most adults however, one hour is more easily spent scrolling on a phone and watching Netflix. And kids too will have trouble finding one hour for similar reasons.

I will suggest that around 20 minutes is a good amount of time to practice each day. 10 minutes is a bit short. 20 minutes is enough time to do a bit of a warm up and then hit your hardest challenge.

Once you hit the 20 minute mark, you might just stick around for a bit more stuff like jamming or playing another song, so it wouldn't be far fetched that a 20 minute session can turn into an hour on its own.

My favourite trick is to practice as early in the day as possible. I try to do it before I have given myself the reward of coffee. That way I know it's started and if I want to come back to it later in the day I always have the option. But to pick up the guitar later in the day for the first time is a lot harder to do.

I asked my recent guest on Elliott's Podcast, Matt James, about this topic since he teaches guitar professionally, and his response was based on an observation that students can fall into the trap of practicing one time in between lessons. If there is only an hour a week in your schedule for practice, then he advises that you slice that hour into shorter, daily sessions instead.

While he didn't go into detail about that recommendation, my understanding is that if you maintain the habit of practicing a little bit each day, you are able to leverage your mind's ability to work on the issues behind the scenes through rest and simply not engaging with the activity for many hours. But in one single session, you will have hard time working with these benefits that are built into the human brain which are a form of neuroplasticity.