Greetings, and welcome to the fourth post in our series about fitting in practice during the busy holiday season. Today, we talk about the value of planning.
During vacations from school and work, it can be tempting to just chill out and let each day run its course, letting whatever happens, happen. Unfortunately for us musicians, practice often doesn’t just happen. It can be easy to let the whole day slip away without even thinking of our instruments, and when a few no-practice days add up, our sound begins to suffer.
Fortunately, a little planning can help remind us to practice and motivate us to make progress with our instruments. Here are some easy ways to plan productive practice into your schedule.
1. Make an appointment with your instrument. When you consciously schedule time into your day to practice, it tends to be harder to wriggle out of the commitment. Write your practice time on your calendar, and tell friends and family you have a commitment at that time. Even if you only schedule a few minutes to practice, it’s much better than doing nothing!
2. Brainstorm good times to practice. When you’re scheduling your practice, try to do it at a time of day where you’re feeling your best. If you’re a morning person, make a plan to play right after breakfast. If you practice when you’re naturally feeling alert, getting things done will be much easier and more efficient.
3. Get into a routine. If it’s possible, make it your goal to practice at the same time every day. Practicing at the same time each day helps make it a habit, and reduces the likelihood that practice will get lost in the hustle and bustle of holiday activity.
4. Set goals and write them down. At the beginning of the week, sit down and write some things you’d like to get done at each practice session. Make your goals very small and concrete, and write them in your calendar next to your practice time. It can be easy to skip “Practice”, but harder to resist the thought of accomplishing something specific with your instrument each day.
This holiday season, see what steps you can take to give yourself the gift of quality practice. Use our ideas, or share your own tips in the comments. Happy playing!