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LJS 21: 4 Steps to Finding More Time to Practice

Welcome to episode 21 of the LJS Podcast where today we are talking about 4 steps to finding more time to practice. We get a lot of emails about this, and since practicing is such an important thing for musicians (especially in jazz), it is important we talk about it. Find out how you can squeeze practice into your regular schedule. Listen in!

Listen to episode 21

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In this episode

  1. Prioritize– make practicing a big item on the list. It’s not a word, it’s a mindset.

  2. Commit- go through your daily and weekly schedule and carve out the time. Write down your schedule or your to-do list.

  3. Limit- you don’t need to practice too long or too often. You can get big results out of short practice time periods if you are efficient.

  4. Be efficient– make a plan. Set goals and write them down. Focus.

Listen to episode 20- How Studying Jazz Can Make You a Better Musician

Show music

“Dilla Esque” by Nathaniel Schroeder

How do you find more time to practice? Leave us a comment below.

Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."


  1. Another outstanding program, Brent! Kudos & thanks to you. I wanted to share one technique I have been using to practice for years. This really has helped me a great deal (especially in periods where time is more scarce in my schedule), though to some it may sound a bit esoteric. I had read several articles, focused largely on musicians and athletes, saying that studies had found that if you can imagine practicing in excruciating detail (my words – not quoting anything directly here) your brain does not recognize the difference between the imagination of the act and the act itself. So at times when I couldn't properly practice, such as while riding the subway when I was still in NYC, I would close my eyes, pick one specific exercise, such as a lick or a solo transcription I'd already been practicing IRL, and I would imagine it as fully as I possible could in the minutest detail I could muster. This included feeling the exact feel of the instrument in my hands and the strings moving beneath my fingers, feeling the movements of my hands in detail, hearing the sounds my playing was making, including string squeak and all. The other key here is to go very slowly making sure that you don't make ANY jumps in consciousness at all, from one note to another, or even in the playing of one note, etc. Through this technique I genuinely found myself to have progressed when I got back into the practice room; certainly no more than actually practicing, but neither did I have that feeling you get when you are practicing daily and then miss a couple of days. Also, it really helped me cement songs I was working on learning on a deeper level. So, just my imagination? A practicing placebo? Maybe, but it has worked for me nonetheless and there is indeed scientific data to back it up. Just thought I'd share as food for thought. 🙂

  2. I keep my trumpet on its stand in the living room rather than in the case. That means that when I get a spare half hour it's easier to practice as it is all set to go!

  3. Keep my horn with me and take it out whenever I can. Parking lots, lunch hour at work, while my girlfriend gets dressed. If it's safe to carry, I have it with me.


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