When you undertake any endeavor, be it music lessons, martial arts, learning to paint, etc., one of the critical elements to your success is how consistent you are with your development time, also known as, your practice routine.
The truth is simply this...
If your practice is irregular, maybe a few minutes Monday, take a few days off, hit it Friday afternoon, maybe 30 minutes on Sunday, but only if the game is not on TV, etc. It will take you a lifetime to reach your goals.
On the other hand, create a habit where you practice every day of the week, with goals and a plan, and you'll be playing music with others in no time.
Understand that every musician practices. Well, those that are striving to become better at their instrument, that is. Beginner or advanced, we all have that next goal, new song, or plateau we're aiming for.
If you struggle with improvement, take a look at your practice routine.
Often, musicians have the best intentions to practice and grow, only to have their goals derailed by life events. You know, business meetings that sapped all your energy by the end of the day, final exams that you have to study every available hour, the in-laws coming to visit and you have to get all your honey do's done before they arrive. You've been is a similar situations, I'm sure.
Well you know what? Those are all excuses.
And I'm not just being a mean drill sergeant music instructor when I say that. In all my years teaching, I've never met a single student that truly had ZERO available minutes in a twenty four hour day for practice time. There always will be a chunk of time we can use to practice. We just struggle with getting started on those hard days.
You know, those days when all you can think about is getting home and vegging on the couch. You have to understand that if you really want to learn how to play, write songs and make music, you'll never get that opportunity to improve once its passed. The time is there, you just need a strategy to help you on those days.
Here's the killer tip....
Even on the days you're dead tired, MAKE yourself practice for just 10 minutes before calling it a day.
That's right. Just 10 minutes. Pick one element from your material that can fill those 10 minutes and get to work.
I know you're thinking something like, "My practice routine normally takes <insert your practice time here>. What will 10 minutes do for me?".
Well, a lot, actually ... If you are focused during that time.
First, when you're tired, or unmotivated, your mind will convince you that your normal practice routine of, let's say, 45 minutes is just way too much work. Especially after the day you just had. Knock your normal time down to 10 minutes and even a weary brain will say, "Yeah, sure. Ten minutes is a snap. Let's knock it out and get back to playing some Fortnite".
Once the clock is ticking, be serious and give it your best for those 10 minutes. For example, let's say you're learning the jazz melodic minor scale. With 10 focused minutes, you can tune up, work a position up to speed and possibly even get some ear training in as you sing the intervals.
At the end of 10 minutes, if you're drained and can't play another note, pat yourself on the back and play that video game. You've succeeded in practicing when you didn't want to AND you actually worked on something that will make you a better musician. Success!
I'll bet, if you're like me and most other musicians, once you plug in, tune up and get your fingers on the strings, you likely won't even notice when the 10 minutes are up.
The reason is that the hardest thing about practicing when we don't want to, is simply getting off the couch and starting. If you create a habit of practicing daily, good days and bad, you'll see significant improvement in your musicianship! Guaranteed.
Don't know what to practice, or perhaps how to practice correctly? Give me a call!
I cover practice strategies with all students and create a realistic practice routine that will improve your skills and have you ready for the next weekly lesson.
I would love to help you reach your goals!
Blue Heron Music Studio is located in Panama City Beach, Florida.
Offering Music Lessons, Guitar Lessons, Bass Lessons, and Ukulele lessons.
Call or Email to schedule a free trial lesson.