Prac-ti-cing.. easy as 1, 2, 3
Raise a hand if you've ever put off practicing anything (musical instruments are a classic example). Raise two hands if you've ever proclaimed you're the 'royalty of procrastination'? Shout yeehaa if you've ever given something up because the burden of practice was too much.
Practising a musical instrument, or practicing anything can build up to be one of those tasks that becomes way bigger than the actual practicing itself. It's funny it's the only way to get better, yet we all let ourselves be overcome with the feeling of deficit between the current where-you-are-now and the where-you-want-to-be.
- The only way to improve on the imperfections and
become comfortable with new skills is to
practice over and over again -
I've been thinking about my approach to practicing my instruments and wanted to share 3 simple steps to perfecting daily practice to improve concentration, productivity and overall enjoyment.
Creating a space for practice is very important because you need to make sure distractions are far away and every minute counts. 1 productive minute is worth 10 unproductive minutes, maybe even 100!
Put that phone in another room, get everything you need, make yourself comfy. Then take a minute to prepare your mind. Take some breaths and think about today's task. What do you want to achieve? How are you going to achieve it?
Make a plan. It could be a whole exercise such as playing a whole scale without mistakes, or major and minor scales in every key. It could be part of a bigger plan, such as learning a fingerpicking style or sight reading the introduction to a song. By breaking it down into small tasks, they become achievable and therefore enjoyable because you are always winning. No matter how small the task.
Practice for a short time, every day. Repetition is the most productive way to progress and key to success. Whatever you want to learn, music, a language, how to cook, or just being a bit more mindful - it takes a small bit of effort every day to start seeing results. And they'll be so small you won't even notice until you realise you can do things you never could before! It's a never ending cycle of learning, achieving and envisioning the next challenge. But that's what life's all about isn't it?
The best way to truly gauge how you sound is by recording yourself - audio record or video on your phone. Listen to your playing (and try not to cringe too much). Write down 3 points that you want to improve and incorporate it into your practice. Maybe assign 15 minutes a week to improving each of these points and rate how you think you did out of 5 (and don't be too harsh on yourself). Keep a log and see how you improve over time.
With so many things to learn in life and all the genuine distractions, taking this hands on
1-2-3 approach to practicing will hopefully help you to make time and practice productively, and in turn make the journey to achieving your dreams more do-able.
Ready.... steady.... GO!