Being in the house a lot of the time, as we are now, can create a sense of anxiety and uncertainty. As a way of keeping some things ‘normal’ we may be looking into starting new hobbies, or improving skills in our existing ones. With rehearsals now at a temporary standstill, we want to keep our lips in shape so that we don’t feel like a total embarrassment when the dust literally falls off our instruments in the band room.
It’s really good to set up a set of routines, here are my 10 things to think about:
1) Try and find a room in the house, free from distraction that you can practice in. It does not have to be glamorous, just available and somewhere you will not get disturbed. You may be thankful for the time away from the other people in your house for a bit (no offence).
2) Make sure you set up a plan - setting out warm-up routines, solos to play, studies and scales.
3) Try and practice for a set amount of time each day, you may build this up at first but think about between 60-90 minutes per day.
4) You do not have to practice the above time all in one sitting. I would recommend at least 40 mins in the morning and 40 minutes in the evening at a time that suits. Breaking it down also feels like twice the productivity.
5) Use the time wisely on some of those techniques that have often got the better of you. Triple and double tonguing, high register, pedal notes and phrasing.
6) A great book now that you have the time to practice is A Systematic Approach to Daily Practice by Claude Gordon, a great book if you want a good work out and structure. If you don’t have it, however, try our good old friend, the Arban, or even exchange studies etc. with your friends!
7) This is a great time to work on breathing so give those long notes a try at the end of a session.
8) Use technology to record performances on your phone and send to people for comment. This might feel a bit scary, but most of the time people are happy to give constructive criticism, and it gives them something else to do!
9) Take advantage of online lessons as lots of teachers will be free to teach at present. There are loads of Facebook groups out there with people to get in touch with, or even try one of your old teachers!
10) Remember to ENJOY what you are doing, find pieces you enjoy playing and start with them and you will really get into this. Then practice becomes easy peasy!
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