In this post, we’ll take a look at a few simple notions that could improve the practice of your instrument, voice, songwriting – whatever you are doing. Some of them are extremely plain and ordinary, and for exactly that reason, I will point them out. We often miss the obvious. So, here’s the list:
Don’t forget to take breaks
How long is the attention span of our brain? It varies, but research has shown that our brain can stay concentrated for a maximum of 20 minutes! If you want to stay focused, you must also learn to take breaks.
Change your posture
Your body doesn’t like to sit, stand, or lie down, in the exact same way for too long. When you take your focus breaks, also stretch, move around and if possible come back to a new position.
Our brain can only focus on one thing at a time, or, jump back and forth between different things (multi-task), which is very tiresome. To avoid the latter, put your phone in flight mode, set an alarm clock if you have to stop at a certain time. Choose a place to practice that has fewer distractions. Let people that might contact you know that you might be off for a while. You might be surprised how your quality in general improves when you focus at one thing at a time.
Eat well and drink plenty of water
Pretty obvious, right? Well, if you’re in a flow state you might forget to eat, or even leave the room, for several hours. While music might not be as physically exhausting as regular training (depending on your instrument of course) it is still pretty fuel demanding. If you know that you tend to get lost in the music, pre-plan your meals and always bring a bottle of water.
Or you’ll need to spend a lot of time later correcting the mistakes you’ve made, not having gone through the material thoroughly.
Practice at the right time of day
Focus, energy and inspiration varies. If you see that your inspiration is often linked to the time of day, try to steer your musical training to when you feel more inspired.
No energy? Stay clear of demanding exercises!
Different aspects of practice demand different amounts of energy. Identify which exercises, routines and musical styles demand the largest energy expense and avoid these when your energy level is low. Save them for when you have more energy.
Learn to focus on one thing at a time
When you rehearse the more energy demanding parts of your practice, or when it’s not your most energetic time of day, decide on just a few things to focus on. First of all, this will help you concentrate, since you don’t have to switch your focus all the time. Allowing yourself to give attention to just one task will also add quality to it.
How many of these “bad habits” can you find in your own practice?
And while these eight tips may not sound revolutionary – I’m sure you can agree that most of them could make quite a huge difference in the overall quality of your musicianship over the course of weeks, months, and years?
Did you like what you just read? Are you looking for further answers to your challenges? Don’t hesitate to comment on these topics, or any other, below.