Last night after finishing my lessons I stayed at the studio and practiced drum set for 30 minutes. It wasn’t recital preparation, but I ran some coordination exercises and improvised with some familiar grooves before concluding my session with some new grooves from a book I recently purchased from this awesome sheet music store in Dublin, CA. (And of course, it was my Pepper store.)
My self-imposed “time-out for practice” reinvigorated me with motivation to do more — it was an affirmation to myself: “I have a right to practice!”
Throughout music school my “right” to practice meant something quite different than it does now — it was a necessary requirement. Every day for 4-6 hours I would bury myself in a practice room to methodically shape the phrases and nuances that would define my performance as good or great. Recitals meant everything!
After college the majority of us do not have solo performances to prepare for and practicing that much is not realistic. It’s also fair to say that, as career musicians, we shouldn’t have to practice 4-6 hours to achieve the practical demands of casual performance gigs. Simply put, it’s not the amount of time but rather the efficiency of time used that matters more.
It’s not our fault that we don’t practice as much as when we were students. Life is busy, but we still have to make the effort to stop and smell the musical roses. It’s time away from obligations that keeps us musically stimulated and ensures our longevity as musicians.
Click here for a fantastic list of tips to help you make more of your practice time.
Click here to read how singer/songwriter Ken Medema uses vocal exerices to keep his voice sounding youthful.