“The studio, a room to which the artist consigns himself for life, is naturally important, not only as workplace, but as a source of inspiration.”
-Grace Glueck, journalist
The Musician’s Way, p. 5
We musicians spend so much time practicing that it’s wise for us to deliberately optimize the spaces where we practice.
Here are two ideas for doing so.
First, we should arrange our practice spaces to boost productivity. A studio or practice room doesn’t have to be fancy for us to work efficiently and make impeccable music, but there are some things without which we musicians flounder.
Second, whether a practice setting is stylish or ordinary, we can transform it into a creative temple, a place where inspiration flows.
“Whether a practice setting is stylish or ordinary, we can transform it into a creative temple, a place where inspiration flows.”
1. Equipping a Music Practice Space
How can ill-equipped practice rooms leave musicians floundering?
Poorly sized chairs contribute to backache; dim lighting provokes eye strain; missing metronomes can give rise to a distorted rhythmic sense. You see what I mean.
Below is an inventory of 12 essentials, aside from an instrument, for setting up a practice space. Bear in mind that some musicians won’t need all of the items listed. Few pianists, for example, require electronic tuners.
Twelve Practice Room Essentials
1. Suitable chair (maybe with a wedge cushion)
2. Music stand to hold paper music or an electronic display
3. Notebook and pencils
4. Electronic metronome and tuner
5. Clock and timer (phones work well, but in airplane mode to limit distractions)
6. Mirror (for monitoring movement habits)
7. Audio and/or video recorder , e.g., a Zoom H4n (audio) or Q4n (audio & video)
8. Instrument stand/holder
9. A bottle of water
10. Adequate lighting and climate control
11. Relative quiet and privacy
12. Hearing protection (for those who play loud instruments or rehearse loudly)
2. Transforming a Practice Space into a Creative Temple
To transform your practice space into a creative temple, designate it as such every time you work.
When you prepare to practice, wherever you may be, make sure that your equipment needs are met and that your materials are in order. At the same time, remove distractions: switch off the phone; put the computer to sleep.
Next, take a minute to acknowledge the extraordinary opportunity before you to make music. Just as religious devotees may perform rituals when entering houses of worship, adopt soulful pre-practice customs.
“Just as religious devotees may perform rituals when entering houses of worship, adopt soulful pre-practice customs.”
Prior to your musical warm-up, breathe, release tension, and affirm the value of your artistic work.
Then, leaving your troubles behind, enter the exquisite realm of music making.
© 2015 Gerald Klickstein
Adapted from The Musician’s Way, p. 5-6
Photo © GoodMood Photo, licensed from Shutterstock.com