Choosing Instrument(s) for High Intensity Interval Practice

Effective practice begins with selecting the right gear!

While High Intensity Interval Practice (HIIP) can be adapted for all instruments and levels, you still need to be strategic about your choice of instruments. In this post, we’ll discuss how to pick an instrument if you’re just starting out. I’ll also explain how multi-instrumentalists can make use off HIIP. As you’ll see, your choice of instrument(s) affects how much time you must budget for setup, tuning, and warmups. From there, you can complete the action item of getting your practice space set up!

If you’re just starting out and/or pressed for time, you should stick to practicing just one instrument. Make sure that your instrument is in playing shape – repairing or replacing parts as needed. If you want to play a certain instrument but can’t afford it, consider renting one from a music store. For those on a budget, voice or melodica (which run for $100 or less) are good options. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re excited and passionate about playing your one instrument.

If you play multiple instruments, HIIP is your friend! For woodwind players who double (on flute, clarinet, etc.), you can divide time between your primary and secondary instruments. Either way, limit yourself to no more than five instruments at a time. If you stick to the minimum of five minutes per day, you can practice five instruments in less than half an hour. But that said, multiple instruments mean more setup time (see below).

With each instrument, you’ll need to consider how much time you need to budget for the following:

  1. Setup (even if your instrument is out of its case and on a stand, you still may need to put things together)
  2. Tuning (if applicable, tune your instrument before every practice session)
  3. Warmups (this is crucial for vocalists, brass players, etc. and may take more than five minutes itself)

Over time, you’ll get a better feel for how many instruments you can practice and how much time to devote to each.

Today, take 5 minutes to set up your practice space, including the following:

  • Your instrument(s), out of the case and on an instrument stand (if applicable)
  • A music stand with pencil, metronome, tuner, tablet with iRealPro, etc.
  • Assessment tools, such as a mirror and recording device

Tomorrow, we’ll move from selecting gear to choosing a goal!

Author: Leah Pogwizd

Bassist and Instructor

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