How to Create the Perfect Practice Space

practice spaceAs a musician, figuring out a good spot to practice can be a challenge. As most pop-punk bands could tell you, a good practice space should make you feel comfortable and focused; however, those two qualities scarcely overlap. Although every musician may dream for a private space built specifically to play his or her instrument (or even just the means to rent a practice space), that's not necessarily an affordable or practical option. Here are some tips to create a sacred spot to hone your skills at home.

1. Comfort

Make sure the area where you play your instrument won’t make you easily distracted. Try to physically declare a space exclusively for practicing so that you can get yourself into the practice headspace once you sit down. Ideally, if you have an extra room in your home or apartment, siphon off this room exclusively for a hot date with your musical instrument. This is obviously not a luxury everyone can afford; so alternatively, declare a chair in your apartment or bedroom a "practice chair" that you only sit in while practicing. It's a great way to separate yourself from the comforts of your room to add to the comforts of your practice space. Also, chairs. Sitting in a chair beats out sitting on a bed or on the ground cross-legged. It will provide you with back support, a godsend when you strain your body from holding an instrument for a block of time.

2. Equipment

While you shouldn’t worry about creating an entire studio with a litany of equipment in a nook in your studio apartment, the best practice space should contain a couple important items. Make sure to invest in a music stand. It's much easier to read sheet music closer to your eye level. Also consider purchasing a timer, so you can better manage your time on certain songs and your overall length of practicing much better. As we've mentioned before, it's best to have short but engaging practice sessions, so ideally a timer would help mute any distractions.

3. Sound

Don’t get too caught up in whether or not your practice space has the best acoustics in the world; however, make sure to take into account how it affects your practice sessions. For example, an acoustic guitar might sound crisp in a tiled room like a bathroom or a kitchen, but the reverb makes it difficult to recognize mistakes in playing. In general, try to find areas to practice that might sound similar to wherever you might perform. Ideally you should try to avoid areas in your apartment with heavy reverb or that are acoustically “dead”. However, there are easy fixes to these problems. For example, a room with a lot of furniture can help mute reverb issues in a space.

4. Your neighbors

Beyond your own practice needs, you also need to make sure your practice space does not interfere with the people around you. A happy practice spot should also be a happy environment for your family and neighbors. Make sure to talk with your neighbors about the best times to play your instrument. Most neighbors should be understanding and grateful if you approach them about it before you choose to practice “Hot Cross Buns” at 3 am. If you live with Mr. Heckles and they are absolutely adamant about not hearing any noise, try investing in a pair of headphones you can plug into your amp (if your instrument is electric or brass). Woodwinds generally have a more difficult time navigating noise issues, but you can also look into soundproofing a small space such as a closet for your practice sessions. If all else fails, look to nearby colleges to see if they have free hours in their practice booth.

Once you've built that perfect practice space, head to Chromatik for free sheet music and tutorials.