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Is it Practicing or Practising Music: Understanding the Correct Usage – Western Musical Instruments

Is it Practicing or Practising Music: Understanding the Correct Usage

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Is it Practicing or Practising Music: Understanding the Correct Usage

Music is an art form that requires dedication, discipline, and practice. But when it comes to the correct usage of the word “practice” or “practise,” many musicians and music enthusiasts are often confused. Is it “practicing” or “practising” music? The answer may surprise you. In this article, we will explore the correct usage of these words and how they differ in meaning. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned musician, understanding the difference between “practicing” and “practising” is essential to mastering your craft. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of music practice!

Quick Answer:
When it comes to the correct usage of “practicing” or “practising” music, it ultimately depends on the English dialect or style guide being used. In American English, “practicing” is the commonly used term, while in British English, “practising” is more commonly used. It’s important to note that both terms are correct and widely used, so there is no definitive answer. However, if you are writing for a specific audience or publication, it’s best to follow their preferred usage.

What is the Difference Between Practicing and Practising?

The Origin of the Words

The difference between practicing and practising is a common topic of discussion among music enthusiasts and professionals alike. The words “practice” and “practise” are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct origins and meanings.

The English Language Influence

The word “practice” originated from the Old French word “praticien,” which means “to do.” In the late 14th century, the English language adopted the word “practice” from the French, and it eventually became a verb that means “to engage in an activity or discipline to become proficient.” In modern English, the word “practice” is used across various fields, including music, sports, and business.

On the other hand, the word “practise” originated from the Latin word “praeceptus,” which means “to teach before.” In the late 15th century, the English language adopted the word “practise” from the Latin, and it eventually became a verb that means “to engage in an activity or discipline to improve one’s skills.” In modern English, the word “practise” is commonly used in the field of music, especially in the context of musical performance and practice.

The Latin Influence

The Latin word “praeceptus” has a long history of usage in the field of education and learning. It was used by ancient Romans to describe the act of teaching and learning, which emphasizes the importance of repetition and reinforcement in acquiring knowledge and skills. This idea of teaching and learning through repetition is still relevant today, and it is reflected in the way musicians use the word “practise” to describe their daily routine of musical practice.

In summary, the words “practice” and “practise” have distinct origins and meanings, and their usage varies depending on the context. While “practice” is a general verb that means to engage in an activity to become proficient, “practise” is a verb that is commonly used in the field of music to describe the act of engaging in an activity to improve one’s skills.

The Correct Usage in the Context of Music

Common Mistakes Made by Musicians

One common mistake made by musicians is the interchangeable usage of the words “practicing” and “practising” in the context of music. While both words are related to music practice, they have distinct meanings and connotations.

The Importance of Using the Correct Term

Using the correct term is important for several reasons. Firstly, using the wrong term can lead to confusion and miscommunication, particularly in a professional setting. Secondly, using the correct term demonstrates proper language usage and respect for the field of music. Lastly, using the correct term can help to maintain the integrity and standards of the music industry.

The Difference Between Practicing and Practising in the Context of Music

In the context of music, “practicing” refers to the act of repetitively playing or singing a piece of music in order to improve one‘s technique, tone, and overall performance. It is often used in the context of instrumental or vocal instruction, such as when a musician is practicing scales or a particular piece of music.

On the other hand, “practising” refers to the process of refining and perfecting one’s musical skills and knowledge through the study and analysis of music theory, history, and performance practices. It is often used in the context of music education, such as when a musician is practising sight-reading or ear training.

Therefore, while both terms refer to music practice, “practicing” is more focused on the physical act of playing or singing, while “practising” is more focused on the intellectual and theoretical aspects of music.

In conclusion, understanding the correct usage of “practicing” and “practising” in the context of music is important for clear and effective communication, as well as for maintaining the integrity and standards of the music industry.

Tips for Practicing Music

Setting Goals

When it comes to practicing music, setting goals is an essential step in helping you stay focused and motivated. Without clear goals, it can be easy to become distracted or lose sight of what you are working towards. Here are some tips for setting effective goals for your music practice:

Short-term Goals

Short-term goals are those that can be achieved within a relatively short period of time, such as a few days or weeks. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). For example, a short-term goal for a beginner guitar player might be to learn the basic chords and strumming pattern for a simple song within the next week. Short-term goals help you stay motivated by providing a sense of accomplishment and progress, and they also help you build momentum towards achieving your long-term goals.

Long-term Goals

Long-term goals are those that take longer to achieve, such as several months or even years. These goals should also be SMART, but they may require more planning and effort to achieve. For example, a long-term goal for a musician might be to release an album within the next year. Long-term goals help you stay focused on your overall vision and purpose for practicing music, and they provide a sense of direction and purpose for your practice.

When setting your goals, it’s important to remember that they should be challenging but achievable. If your goals are too easy, you may become bored or complacent, but if they are too difficult, you may become discouraged and give up. It’s also important to prioritize your goals and focus on the most important ones first. This will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and help you stay focused on what’s most important.

Overall, setting goals is an essential part of effective music practice. By setting clear, achievable goals, you can stay motivated, focused, and on track towards achieving your musical aspirations.

Developing a Practice Routine

Warm-up Exercises

Warm-up exercises are an essential part of any music practice routine. These exercises help to prepare the musician’s body and mind for the practice session ahead. Some warm-up exercises include stretching, breathing exercises, and simple scales or arpeggios. These exercises help to increase blood flow to the hands and fingers, improve posture, and prepare the muscles for the physical demands of playing an instrument.

Technique Practice

Technique practice is another important aspect of a music practice routine. This type of practice involves working on specific technical skills, such as fingerings, articulation, and tone production. It is important to practice these skills regularly to maintain and improve overall technique. Technical exercises can be found in most music method books and can also be created by the musician based on their personal needs and goals.

Repertoire Practice

Repertoire practice involves working on specific pieces of music. This type of practice is essential for building muscle memory and preparing for performances. When practicing repertoire, it is important to focus on specific sections of the music that may be challenging, and to practice these sections slowly and accurately. It is also important to practice the piece as a whole, paying attention to phrasing, dynamics, and overall musicality. Regular repertoire practice helps to build confidence and proficiency in performing music.

Incorporating Feedback

Incorporating feedback is an essential aspect of practicing music, as it helps musicians identify areas that need improvement and make progress more efficiently. Here are some tips for effectively incorporating feedback:

Finding Constructive Criticism

  1. Seek feedback from trusted sources: Look for feedback from people who have experience in music performance or teaching, such as music teachers, professional musicians, or experienced peers.
  2. Be open to criticism: Be receptive to feedback, even if it may be difficult to hear. Remember that constructive criticism is designed to help you improve.
  3. Evaluate the feedback: Assess the feedback you receive, considering whether it is relevant, actionable, and in line with your goals.

Applying Feedback to Improve Technique and Performance

  1. Identify specific areas for improvement: Based on the feedback you receive, identify specific areas where you need to focus your practice.
  2. Break down complex tasks: Break down complex tasks into smaller, manageable steps to make it easier to practice and improve.
  3. Set achievable goals: Set achievable goals that align with the feedback you’ve received, ensuring that they are challenging but attainable.
  4. Regularly review progress: Regularly review your progress, making adjustments to your practice routine as needed.
  5. Embrace a growth mindset: Embrace a growth mindset, understanding that practice and improvement are ongoing processes, and that setbacks are a natural part of the learning journey.

Staying Motivated

Motivation is key when it comes to practicing music. Without it, you may find yourself struggling to keep up with your practice schedule or giving up altogether. Here are some tips to help you stay motivated:

Finding Inspiration

One way to stay motivated is to find inspiration in the music you love. Listen to your favorite songs and try to understand how they were made. Analyze the melody, harmony, and rhythm, and try to incorporate some of these elements into your own playing. You can also watch videos of live performances or concerts to get inspired.

Setting Goals

Another way to stay motivated is to set goals for yourself. Identify what you want to achieve and break it down into smaller, manageable tasks. For example, if you want to learn a new piece of music, start by learning one section at a time. Once you have mastered that section, move on to the next one. This will help you stay focused and make progress gradually.

Practicing with Purpose

It’s also important to practice with purpose. Don’t just go through the motions of playing your instrument. Instead, focus on specific aspects of your playing that need improvement. For example, if you want to improve your technique, spend some time each day practicing scales and arpeggios. If you want to improve your musicality, spend some time listening to recordings and trying to imitate the sounds you hear.

Celebrating Success

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way. Whether it’s learning a new piece of music or improving your technique, take the time to acknowledge your achievements. This will help you stay motivated and keep pushing yourself to improve.

Summarizing the Key Points

  • Understanding the Difference Between Practicing and Practising:
    • Practicing refers to the repetition of a task with the aim of improving one’s skills and performance.
    • Practising, on the other hand, refers to the process of regularly engaging in a particular activity in order to become proficient at it.
  • Setting Goals and Developing a Practice Routine:
  • Incorporating Feedback and Staying Motivated:
    • Seeking feedback from teachers, mentors, or peers can help musicians identify areas for improvement and track their progress.
    • Staying motivated requires setting realistic goals, celebrating small victories, and finding enjoyment in the process of learning and growing as a musician.

Final Thoughts

Emphasizing the Importance of Practice in Music

  • Regular practice is crucial for musicians of all levels and genres, as it helps to develop and maintain technical skills, build muscle memory, and enhance overall musicality.
  • Practice can also help musicians to better understand and appreciate different styles of music, as well as to develop their own unique voice and musical expression.

Encouraging Musicians to Keep Improving

  • Even professional musicians who have been performing for many years continue to practice regularly, as there is always room for improvement and growth in the world of music.
  • Musicians should set realistic goals for themselves and continually strive to reach new levels of proficiency, whether it be through learning new songs, improving their technique, or exploring different genres and styles.
  • With dedication, passion, and consistent practice, musicians can achieve great things and continue to grow and evolve as artists.


1. What is the difference between practicing and practising music?

Practicing and practising are two different spellings of the same word, but they have different meanings. Practicing is a noun that refers to the act of performing an activity repeatedly in order to improve one‘s skill or ability. On the other hand, practising is a verb that means to perform an activity repeatedly in order to improve one‘s skill or ability.

2. Which spelling is correct, practicing or practising?

Both spellings are correct, but they are used in different contexts. In the United States, practicing is the more common spelling, while in the United Kingdom and other English-speaking countries, practising is more commonly used. However, both spellings are accepted and understood in all English-speaking countries.

3. Should I use practicing or practising when teaching music?

If you are teaching music in the United States, it is generally recommended to use practicing as the correct spelling. However, if you are teaching music in the United Kingdom or other English-speaking countries, it is more common to use practising. Ultimately, the choice of which spelling to use depends on the context and the audience.

4. Can I use both spelling interchangeably?

In most cases, it is acceptable to use both spelling interchangeably, as they both refer to the same concept. However, it is important to be aware of the differences in usage between the two spellings, as they may be perceived differently in different contexts. It is also worth noting that using the wrong spelling can sometimes cause confusion or be seen as a mistake.

5. What is the origin of the two spellings?

The two spellings have different origins. Practicing originated in the United States and is a shortened form of the phrase “practise and repent,” which was used in the 17th century. Practising, on the other hand, originated in the United Kingdom and is derived from the Latin word “practicus,” which means “skilled in action.” Over time, the spelling of the word evolved to reflect the pronunciation of the word in different dialects.

How To Practice Music Every Day

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