The Practice Routine
I. SETTING GOALS
Change takes time, don't give up after a week, by routine we mean long term.
Achievable, realistic goals: many small changes will make a big difference.1. First goals, first victories...
- "Wake up earlier" (often = to go to sleep earlier...) : this could be your first mission. If you have a tendency to wake up late, try to gain 5 to 10 min everyday.
- "walk or exercise at least once a week": instead of taking the escalators, why don't you take the stairs? Think of an activity you could do once a week that makes you happy. (if it doesn't you will probably stop...)
"No computer time / series if I haven't practiced yet"
"I can watch another chapter of this series if I practice the same length one episode first"
1- NO MORE "IF" EXCUSES, ACCEPT YOUR PRESENT
If I had a better instrument...
If people around me were more supportive...
If I had more time...
If I was less stressed by...
2. NO MORE "WHEN": LIVE IN THE PRESENT
WEEKLY AND DAILY LISTS
Every week: make a to do list with a color dot indicating the priority
-things to practice
-general things (travel plans, running errands etc...)
-emails you should answer / write
Every night: make a list of what you have to get done the next day.
Instead of playing with your phone, take a paper, think of your day, list what you have to do, keep some free time...
II. WHY DO WE LOSE A PRACTICE ROUTINE?
in order to keep a practice routine, it is interesting to understand why we lost it...
C'EST LA VIE... BUT!We often have this dream when there is nothing else to worry than practicing. Unfortunately this dreams rarely becomes reality.
Problems and challenges in your life, family, school, kids, relationships...
Finding a good balance is not easy.
Important advice: know what you need to practice before you start.
Cello is/was your passion, your life, your happiness, and one day, you burnt-out...
Your whole life was about cello and practicing, everybody around you knew that they had to respect your dedication, your cello was a very demanding boss... It can be necessary for a certain period of time but you cannot live forever like this.
Too much travel, too much practice, too much...
You went beyond your limits; it is time to reorganize your life, take time without your cello, don't worry you will get back to it... !
Enjoy life, SLEEP & EAT WELL.
It will not be the same, you will slowly get into a new routine with your instrument, a lot healthier and happier.
III. KEEPING A PRACTICE ROUTINE
STICK TO THE BASICS* NO MATTER WHAT!
*Sleep and eat at regular time, a short practice time is better than nothing.
ONCE YOU GOT ORGANIZED; PRACTICING WILL BE THE EASY PART. LIFE IS LIKE RUBATO, YOU FIND FREEDOM INSIDE THE CLOCK / BEAT
TO INCREASE YOUR PRACTICE TIME AND QUALITY
In most case it is procrastination... Practice something, play something!
Even if you have only 15 minutes, take those 15 minutes! Pick one spot you want to work on, you will learn to fix problems quicker. And even if you can't find a solution during those 15min, your brain will keep working on it without you even noticing...
You will practice something everyday, you develop the capacity to find quick fixes, and to run into your practice room everytime you have 15 or 20 minutes. It becomes a routine, many short practice times a day quickly sums up! You will se that you will feel the need to seat longer to assemble the puzzle you have been working on.
Once your life is more organized, write down everyday what you learnt and if you can use some of that in your playing. Learn about yourself, learn from others.
Then, write down what you could have practiced and you didn't, add it in your "to do list".
Do not think on "2hours" or "4hours" but practice what you need, it will vary. As long as you are trying to improve your playing everyday you are in the right direction.