Beth finds it tough to focus when she’s
practicing so setting that 5-10 minutes aside and then actually going in and
knowing what to practice so So in terms of figuring out how to
create a good practice schedule, what would you suggest is the best way to
actually be able to sit down and get a good productive session in and and not
just get up want to get up after five minutes? Sure. So I guess just to give the
context I am coming at this from maybe a different perspective from a lot of
music teachers and a lot of musicians who’ve learned in the traditional way and for me this was a real discovery that you can take responsibility for your music
practice in this way. So first off, just great ask this question, because there’s
a lot of musicians you either don’t give any thought to how they practice or
they’ve been learning with an instrument teacher, they get their homework as it
were each week and that’s basically all they do and they feel satisfied if they
tick the boxes and as you would well know if you’ve like there’s more to it
than that. You’ve got to think through a bit more what you’re trying to
accomplish and how to get there. And so I’d love to unpack this into a few
pieces because, it’s such a big question and I think you know one
question is when should you practice music. So you know how do you schedule
it into your day, how much time do you need? Another is what should you be using that
time for? What are of the important things to cover in your practice time? And then, the
third big thing is how can you make sure the time you do have is really effective
and it’s going to you know give the best bang for your buck. And so, to dig into
the first of those, a lot of people once they get past school really struggled to
find time for music and I think a lot of people in your community are in this
situation where you know music may be more than a hobby maybe they’re doing it
on a part-time basis or they’re earning some money with it but it’s still
something that has to exist alongside a lot of other interests and
responsibilities. You know in our community at Musical U we have a lot
of people coming to it as adults. They might have kids, they might have a
nine-to-five job, and so that time is really precious and it can be hard to
make sure you kind of protect it and you guard it and you actually
get it done each day. So I have a few tips I tend to give for this. One is just don’t
be too ambitious with it, you know it’s much better in music to set aside 15
minutes a day and do it every day then to try and set aside you know four
hours at the weekend to do a mammoth session. Particularly for the kind of ear
training skills, but also for instrument skills and studying theory a little and
often works much better than kind of big bursts so enthusiasm and finding the
time and then two weeks pass and nothing happens. So don’t be too ambitious
but try and be consistent rather than too ambitious with how much time you set
aside. One thing has helps a lot of our members is the idea of music time where
you kind of give it that label and you say look 6:00 -6:30 every evening
is music time. “That’s that” you know I’m going to be there every day and it’s an
appointment like you treat a dentist appointment or requirement that you pick
your kids up from school 6:00 to 6:30 is music time and that’s that. And for some
people that works great and it gives them that kind of rigidity to a bother
making a happen each day for other people their schedules wacky and every
day is different and that’s just not realistic. So the other strategy you can
use there is to accept that it’s just going to happen when it happens and you
know it might be first thing in the morning because you’re going to be
waiting for your ride share and you’ve got the time to spare or you might be
doing ear training on your phone and you do it while waiting for the bus. Or you
might find that the day flies by and you’ve got to do a 11:00 p.m. before you go
to bed. But you can still have that kind of determination: “I will carve out my 15
minutes and I will do it every day”. So, some combination of those
tactics tends to help people find the time on a consistent basis. Hopefully
that covers kind of when to do it and how much to do it. I think that’s really
cool and and I think regardless it’s it’s interesting.