Like many people, my schedule around the holidays seems to fill up very fast. Among working, shopping for gifts, and attending family and friend gatherings, there seems to be little down time to dig into any serious music practice. I have thought about waking up even earlier than I already do (6 am) but I just find myself using that extra time to get other things done. This challenge of finding time to practice when life gets busy is something every musician certainly faces. So, how do you find time when life has you running around?
One trick I have learned through the years, and it seems effective, is to break up your practice into smaller, more manageable chunks of time. A day of spaced practice might look something like this: morning = warm up routine and exercises for 10-15 minutes; break time at the office = mental imaging for 10-15 minutes (more on that later); evening = 5 minutes of warm up and 15 minutes of working on a sticking spot in a piece, then 5 minutes of playing through an old piece. Breaking practice time into smaller chunks, I have about an hour of focused, goal-driven practice. Notice I do not just pick up my instrument and play during these times, but I have a specific task to work through each time. This ensures that I not only use my time efficiently, but that I also practice correctly to achieve a goal each day. I also find that taking breaks between practice times sometimes allows me to come back to a problem or sticky spot I might have with a fresh perspective and new vigor to solve the issue. Try spacing out your practice time to fit your busy schedule and you might actually notice faster improvement in your playing.
Now if I could only find time to blog more. Lol.