How to Practise Music: The Handbook

Products featured on Pianodao are selected for review by ANDREW EALES.

I am thrilled to announce my first publication with Hal Leonard, described by the publishers as:

“The essential, pocket-sized companion for every musician. Accessible and authoritative, How to Practise Music is an ideal guide for anyone learning to play music. Suitable for instrumentalists and vocalists of any genre, this comprehensive handbook will give you a better idea of how to practise music, good reasons for doing so, and the confidence to succeed. “

The book is now available in both UK and US versions (Practice/Practise!):

The book is also available digitally for Amazon Kindle and Apple Books.

The book is also now available from the RNIB Bookstore, which aims to open up the world of reading to those with a print disability, including dyslexia, partial sight, and blindness. Titles are made available via the RNIB Bookshare website in a range of accessible formats that can be read electronically or adapted to suit the personal needs of readers.

In this post I will give you an exclusive first look…

Comprehensive but Concise

When my brilliant commissioning editor at Hal Leonard Europe approached me with the basic concept for this publication, I was immediately excited by the idea of writing a super-concise pocket handbook covering this vast and endlessly fascinating topic.

There are of course many excellent books about practice already on the market, including instrument-specific guides to technical progress, academic tomes and wellness guides. Although I referred to many of these during the research for this handbook, it seeks to replace none of them.

How to Practise Music is a book for ALL, equally aimed at the music student, adult player, teacher or parent of a child having lessons. Literally, anyone who wants to understand HOW to practise music.

The presentation and writing is straightforward, practical and inclusive. It includes literally hundreds of tips and tricks to help maximise the effectiveness of your practice.

Best-selling author Paul Harris writes in his Foreword:

“In this eminently readable and succinct guide, Andrew Eales has addressed all issues relating to practising. Having carefully considered the material in this book, you will feel both informed and confident whatever your instrument or voice. Your practice will inevitably become more enjoyable and effective.
In its thoughtfully laid out 50 sections, you will surely find every question you ever had about your practice concisely and helpfully answered. And within those answers, you will find much wise advice and many practical suggestions.”

Within its 80 pages, How to Practise Music covers all of the following:

How to Be Motivated
• Why Do We Practise?
• Be Inspired
• Motivation (Inside Out)
• More Tips for Motivation

How to Plan Your Practice
• How Much Should I Practise?
• The Two Types of Practice Session
• Making Time for Your Practice
• Where to Practise
• Instruments and Equipment
• Consideration for Neighbours
• Plan Your Practice
• Practice Notebooks and Journals
• Using Practice Apps
• Supporting Young Learners

How to Warm Up
• Tuning Up, Tuning In
• Warming Up
• Physical Stretches
• Breathing
• A Simple Breathing Exercise
• Active Repertoire

How to Practise Core Skills
• Scales
• Creative Scale Practice
• Arpeggios
• Studies and Exercises
• Music Reading
• Sight Reading

How to Practise Pieces
• Selecting Music to Play
• Doing Your Research
• Practising Pieces
• Start by Listening
• Getting to Grips with the Notes
• Chunking
• More about Chunking
• Troubleshooting
• Slow Practice
• The Metronome
• Using Backing Tracks
• Recording
• Practising Together

How to Practise Mindfully
• Breaks (A Guide)
• Silent Practice
• The Progress Checklist
• Feedback and Support

How to Practise Playing
• Playfulness
• Improvisation
• Interpretation
• Authenticity and Personality
• Developing Flow
• Memorising
• Getting Ready to Perform


To give you an idea of the type of content within each short section, here’s a sample page provided courtesy of the publisher:

A Guide for the Journey

Hopefully by now you’ll have a flavour of what this little book is all about, and want to take a closer look. I hope that you will enjoy How to Practise Music and really believe that it will help many to turn a positive corner in their musical journey.

But you may also be interested in reading the many wonderful reviews the book has received in the press and online:

As a teacher, I will be recommending all of my students buy their own copy to read and refer back to in the coming weeks, months and years. I hope other teachers might consider how useful the book can be for all their students, too.

How to Practise Music is available worldwide from good bookshops, Amazon, and from Musicroom UK and Hal Leonard US here:

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Published by

Andrew Eales

Andrew Eales is a widely respected piano educator, writer and composer based on Milton Keynes UK. His book HOW TO PRACTISE MUSIC is published by Hal Leonard.