Thursday, September 4, 2014

Organizing your practice time

As musicians we all have musical goals, even if you don't think you do - you do! Maybe you just have not formalized it yet. The purpose of this post is to help get you on your way.

It's Time
With fall approaching it marks the beginning of a new calendar for me. The summer with all its splendour and busyness represents an almost full stop to my practice routine. I still play of course, but the hopes of actually getting anything done are pretty much dead. So here I am, ready to work.... now what?

Setting a goal - the roadmap
If you were travelling somewhere, and you had no idea where you were going, how would you get there? I mean, you would end up somewhere... But is it the place you wanted to be? Formalizing your goals is an absolute critical part of the journey to get you where you want to be. It allows you to keep track of your practice times, making sure the compass is always guiding you. So really spend some time thinking about this one.

I don't know what to practice?
We've all felt this at one time or another. Practice room dead ends can lead to the boredom, which is followed by putting down the instrument. So the goal here is to keep you moving forward, with always lots of options to keep yourself fresh.

At the top of this post I have shared with you my current "Goals Document". The items on this are completely personal to you, but I wanted you to see what I do to maybe generate some ideas and inspiration as to how this actually looks. Yours can be entirely different.

It is pretty self explanatory - basically, I list a longer term goal in the column on the left. Then a practice idea beside it in the right column. The idea here is not for me to do all of these things. This is a list of potential things I can work on in a practice session. I haven't listed gig requirements etc. Those ram themselves into your schedule just fine on their own! This is designed to beat the practice room doldrums and keep your fingers on the strings. Next time you are floundering in the practice room, take a peek at your sheet. Pick something and get busy on your road.

Spend some time developing your own strategy. Knowing where you want to be gives you a distinct advantage and increases one's odds of ever actually getting 'there'.

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