“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.
- Document Goals
Writing down goals, marking scores, and otherwise pinpointing objectives primes our minds to focus.
- Practice First
When we tackle creative tasks as soon as we rise, even if only for a few minutes, we orient ourselves to practice, and that helps us stay in touch with our musical selves all day.
- Have Scores and Practice Notes Handy
A few minutes of score study or reviewing of practice notes mobilizes our faculties so that when our practice time arrives, we’re fired up with ideas and motivation.
- Use Mental Imaging
The processes involved in precise mental imaging activate our brains in ways so similar to actual practice that we can use imaging throughout the day to accomplish small practice goals.
One of the benefits of mental imaging is that at times such as when we’re waiting in lines, we can image playing a passage or two and, in the process, memorize, review fingerings, or try out interpretive ideas. Such microcreating keeps our artistic energies flowing.
- Conclude Practice Sessions with Precise Objectives
It’s always productive to wrap up practice sessions with clear aims for our next ones. Whether we’re practicing alone or in groups, articulating practice plans puts us on a productive track.
- Affirm Your Creative Commitment
Creative work challenges us in myriad ways, so when we’re faced with creative problems or turbulent situations, it’s crucial that we embody habits of positivity that fuel our creative spirits. One of the most potent such habits is to employ affirmations. A personal favorite: “I’m grateful to be able to make and share music.”
© 2014 Gerald Klickstein
Photo © Tomislav Pinter, licensed from Shutterstock.com