To start out with this review, I just wanted to let you all know that I received access to Nick Tozier’s course on Songwritten without charge in exchange for an honest review of “The Art of Daily Practice.”

About the Course

“The Art of Daily Practice” is (at the time of writing) a five part course that offers encouraging and constructive advice on how to pursue regular and rewarding practice as a musician and songwriter. It has no set expiration, so you can work at your own pace and there is an audio and transcript version of each section.

To summarize the course, “The Art of Daily Practice” is a guide to help songwriters and musicians discover the courage and tools necessary to develop strong practice habits. Nick’s course really focuses on developing a system for practice that includes improving focus, finding a dedicated space, utilizing a practice journal, and establishing attainable goals.

The first thing I would like to point out is that I think Nick’s course is a really great resource for those of you looking to find time to practice more regularly, to set aside better structured practice time, or to overcome any number of obstacles that may prevent you from practicing or getting ahead with your practice.

And although it gives a few suggestions in passing, I should note that this course does not cover what to practice. Figuring out what to practice depends on your goals as a musician, the genre of music you play and what level you’re at with your playing. There are a few other online courses that discuss what to practice more specifically (i.e. Bob Reynold’s Video Sax Lessons), whereas “The Art of Daily Practice” helps you figure out how. It provides you with the tools to break down practice goals into smaller steps that give you plenty to work out on your own.

My Thoughts on The Art of Daily Practice

Overall, I found the course helpful and I came out of it with a few ideas as to how I could improve the time I spend practicing. I found his concentration tips extremely beneficial as well as his suggestions on how to better utilize your practice journal.

One of my favorite tips from the course actually had me laughing out loud, not so much because I thought it was funny, but because it was actually something I initially did when I started my Project 365 at the beginning of the year. His tip was to “bribe yourself to practice.” It’s a lot easier to find the motivation to practice when there’s an immediate reward at the end (something that isn’t always apparent in your playing, things take time to make their appearance).

As far as room for improvement, I think that there’s a few small things that Nick could do. I think it would be beneficial to be able to keep track of your progress in the course. The visited links currently do not show as a different color than those you have yet to check out, so perhaps he could change their color or each completed section gets a checkmark after you’ve read through the article or listened to the audio.

I also think that the action items might be better placed at the end of each article (smaller tasks to take on after each bit of information) rather than having one or two larger project to work out. I also think that the worksheets could be more like worksheets than pages with a list of things to do.

Additionally, I feel that the sections for songwriting should be more clearly separated from the rest of the articles only because I feel that this is a very particular section that not everyone taking the course may be particularly interested in. Perhaps adding titles to each of the five sections would resolve this so that those who are more interested in how practice applies to their instrument can skip or gloss over those articles.

As a side note, I should mention that it seems that some of the material is also available through Nick’s blog if you’re willing to take the time to look. The advantage of the course, however, is that it offers the information in one easily accessible and reference-able space so that you don’t have to do much digging. For example, this article “How do I know if I have what it takes?” is on his blog here, and it’s also in the first section of the course.

“The Art of Daily Practice” students can also look forward to a few upcoming changes including updates on the course material as Nick continues his research and a forum where we can discuss “the ups and downs of learning the craft.”

$45.00 USD (30 day money back guarantee) gets you unlimited access to the course and any updates that may be added in the future.

You can learn more about The Art of Daily Practice or signup here.

Here’s a breakdown of what the course includes:

Week 1

  • Find out why talent matters a lot less than you think it does (and maybe doesn’t matter at all).
  • Finally lay to rest that troublesome question: “How do I know if I have what it takes?”
  • Learn to spot the seductive practice trap of “overplaying”, which is fun and satisfying but ultimately stunts your long-term growth.
  • Set clear goals for the level of ability you want and then rough out realistic plans for getting there.
  • Identify the right level of difficulty, the “sweet spot” of practice where you’re challenged but not overwhelmed.
  • Tackle even the toughest challenges head-on with the Crawl, Walk, Run technique.
  • Pinpoint exactly why showing up daily is hard for you, and hold yourself accountable for progress.

Week 2

  • Discover why you have more time to practice than you think you do.
  • Resist distractions and focus deeply to get the most out of your limited practice time.
  • Learn to spot—and fill—the gaps in your knowledge of the craft.
  • Create and maintain a practice space that really works for you.

Week 3

  • Learn how to take apart the songs of your favorite songwriters and figure out how they’re constructed.
  • Identify and avoid the most common ruts and pitfalls of self-teaching (like convincing yourself you’ve mastered something that you haven’t).
  • Find out why those guitar and music theory books have just been sitting on your shelf collecting dust. Hint: it’s not necessarily your fault…

Week 4

  • Discover the deep satisfaction of working at your art, and the positive ripple effect it can have on the rest of your life.
  • Find out how to work hard without exhausting yourself.
  • Leverage what you know about deliberate practice to map uncharted musical territory and dominate areas where most players don’t have effective practice routines.
  • How to get back on track when you fall out of the practice habit.

Week 5

  • Discover the deep satisfaction of working at your art, and the positive ripple effect it can have on the rest of your life.

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Published by Shannon Kennedy

Shannon Kennedy is a vocalist and saxophonist living in Southern California. She is author of "The Album Checklist" and the founder of Teen Jazz. She has been contributing articles to music magaizines and websites since 2004.