Here is our final piece of information to set you on course to practicing in a more efficient way to aid learning a musical instrument.
Remember when I mentioned listening to different genres? Play them, too.
Try learning a song note for note in a completely different genre. Try writing a song in a totally new style. Don’t go overboard, though. Don’t spend an entire year writing a concept free-jazz album that you hate. That would be ridiculous.
If you’re primarily a rock guitarist, pick up a jazz theory book (http://www.musicroom.com/se/id_no/016181/details.html) or a book of transcribed bebop solos (http://www.musicroom.com/se/id_no/01004490/details.html), the stuff you’ll learn will be invaluable.
You could also try picking a song and learning it by ear. If you’re a classical pianist, check out a tune that doesn’t even have any piano and try to learn or transcribe it by ear yourself. Even if you don’t get past the first syllable, you’ll have made some useful progress.
The same goes for learning a new instrument. Pick up a ukulele (http://www.musicroom.com/se/id_no/01010473/details.html) if you’re a guitarist, invest in a MIDI keyboard (http://www.musicroom.com/se/id_no/01064499/details.html) and some software if you’re a pianist, check out a theremin if you’re Icarus. Whatever you choose, it’ll help you to see your own instrument in a brand new light, letting you find new ways to play as well as interesting, unfamiliar sounds that you can make.
Throw yourself into a context that you’ve never been in before.
Do you like to just practise in your bedroom? Why not head to an open mic night and bring your musical genius to the masses?
Solo musicians might benefit from playing in a band. Get together a few friends or strangers who know their way around the notes and make some music together. Playing with others will teach you some fundamental musical skills that are far more difficult to hone on your own. If you can play a tune while also keeping perfect rhythm then you’ll be in demand for the rest of your musical career.
The opposite also applies: perhaps you started playing in a band, so why not try writing some songs on your own, just for yourself? It will help you think of your own skills in particular, and creating is always beneficial.