“Create meaning in everything that you practice.”
–The Musician’s Way, p. 312
Have you ever started a practice session and felt that your musical abilities were out of alignment?
Maybe your mind was restless, your control tenuous, or your tone iffy.
It’s easy for us to get misaligned, but the following techniques help us be ready to practice effectively anytime.
Seven Habits that Prepare Us to Practice Anytime
1. Document Goals
Writing down goals, marking scores, and otherwise pinpointing objectives primes our minds to focus. The free downloads on this site make it easy to organize our practice aims.
2. Practice Early
When we tackle creative tasks as soon as we rise, even if only for a few minutes, we orient ourselves to practice, which helps us stay in touch with our musical selves all day long. And we don’t need to actually play or sing – mental practice and score study can be equally effective.
3. Have Scores & Practice Notes Handy
Throughout the day, when time allows, a few minutes of score study or practice notes review mobilizes our mental faculties so that, when our practice time arrives, we’re fired up with ideas and motivation.
4. Mentally Image
The processes involved in precise mental imaging activate our brains in ways so similar to actual practice that we can use imaging anytime to accomplish small practice goals.
One of the benefits of mental imaging is that at times such as when we’re riding public transport, we can image playing a passage or two and, in the process, memorize, review technical details, or try out interpretive ideas. Such microcreating keeps our artistic energies flowing and our brains oriented toward our music making.
6. Conclude Practice Sessions with Precise Objectives
It’s always wise to wrap up practice sessions with clear aims for our next ones. Whether we’re practicing alone or in groups, articulating practice plans puts group members on the same tracks and focuses individual practice plans.
7. Affirm Your Creative Commitment
Creative work challenges us in myriad ways. When we’re faced with creative problems or turbulent life circumstances, it’s crucial that we embody habits of positivity that fuel our creative spirits. One of the most potent habits is to employ affirmations. A personal favorite: “I’m grateful to be able to make music.”
© 2014 Gerald Klickstein
Photo © Tomislav Pinter, licensed from Shutterstock.com